Blumenauer Announces Measures to Increase Access to Safe Medication Disposal

May 11, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, on the House floor, Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) announced introduction of the Safe Drug Disposal Tax Credit Act to offer qualified entities, registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency to take back drugs, a tax credit to help defray the costs of starting or maintaining drug disposal and take back programs. This week, Representative Blumenauer will also offer an amendment to H.R. 5046, the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016, to allow prescription drug take back programs to qualify for grant assistance from the Department of Justice.

“We need to redouble our efforts to fight the abuse of opioid prescription painkillers and the epidemic of opioid overdose deaths,” said Representative Blumenauer. “Providing a tax credit for safe disposal is a small and important step that should have bipartisan support and will make a difference in every community across America toward ending this epidemic.”

The United States is faced with unprecedented levels of prescription drug abuse. Prescriptions for pain management are on the rise, without easy or effective ways of disposing of leftover, unused medication. This increases the potential for abuse. Additionally, there are environmental costs. People often flush unused prescription drugs down the toilet, impacting waste water treatment plants and drinking water systems.

Today, most existing take back programs are managed by law enforcement agencies—unfortunately, these programs are not easily accessible to most members of the public or only available on specific dates. Representative Blumenauer’s Safe Drug Disposal Tax Credit Act and amendment would help offset some of the expenses for pharmacies and other health organizations to establish and maintain sustainable programs to increase access to safe medication disposal.