House Passes Blumenauer Amendment to Increase Access to Safe Medication Disposal

May 12, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment offered by Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) 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.

Prescriptions for pain management are on the rise, without easy or effective ways of disposing of leftover, unused medication—increasing the potential for abuse, as well as risks to the environment and our water systems as people often flush unused medication down the toilet. Currently, most existing take back programs are managed by law enforcement agencies that are not easily accessible to most members of the public or only available on specific dates. Representative Blumenauer’s amendment will increase access to safe medication disposal by helping to offset some of the expenses for pharmacies and other health organizations to establish and maintain sustainable programs.

“There’s something wrong when it becomes more difficult to dispose of a medication than to get it prescribed. I’m encouraged that my colleagues voted today to support increased access to safe medication disposal—so important to dealing with prescription drug abuse,” said Representative Blumenauer. “More must be done, especially around treatment and prevention, but today’s action is an important step toward fighting this tragic epidemic.” 

On Wednesday, Representative Blumenauer also introduced 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 also help defray the costs of starting or maintaining drug disposal and take back programs.