The Washington Senate Tuesday passed House Bill 1047, also known as the Secure Drug Take Back Act, on a unanimous vote of 49-0. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds, would create a first-in-the-nation requirement for drug manufacturers to implement a secure, statewide system of collection and disposal for unused, expired and leftover medications.
Prescription drugs are among the most commonly abused drugs in the U.S. In Washington state, overdose deaths have surpassed car accidents as the most common cause of accidental death, with over 400 opioid overdose deaths attributed to prescription opioids in 2016. In addition to substance abuse and overdose, prescription drugs contribute to accidental poisonings and suicides.
“Friends and neighbors across the state are falling victim to the opioid epidemic,” said Peterson. “Our families and communities need us to take every step we can to solve this public health crisis, including providing a safe, responsible way to dispose of unused medication.”
The Secure Drug Take Back Act will require drug manufacturers that sell drugs in Washington state to provide safe, convenient drug disposal programs. To encourage communities to utilize the drug take-back programs, each program must implement a system of public outreach, as well as operate year-round and include reasonably convenient drop-off sites. The bill also allows for any pharmacy, hospital or police agency to volunteer to host a secure drug drop box by ensuring their inclusion in the collection system provided by drug manufacturers.
House Bill 1047 will now return to the House for concurrence on amendments approved in the Senate. If accepted, the bill will head to Gov. Jay Inslee for his consideration.