President Obama signed the bipartisan Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act (S 3397) into law yesterday.
This allows individuals and long-term care facilities to deliver the most dangerous prescription drugs to law enforcement officials and other authorized individuals for safe disposal - prior to this, the law prohibits individuals and long-term care facilities from distributing controlled substances to other persons for the purposes of disposal. The bill also promotes the development and expansion of drug take-back programs.
It is estimated that more than four billion prescriptions are written annually in the United States and up to 40 percent of drugs dispensed outside of hospitals go unused, generating approximately 200 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste each year. This prevalence of unused drugs poses a significant public health and safety hazard when these medications are accidentally or illegally consumed.
This new law will fight against prescription drug abuse, reduce the cost of drug take-back programs, increase the accessibility of collections, and help keep pharmaceutical drugs out of the environment.