Take Back Your Meds is a group of health organizations, environmental groups, police, drugstores, local governments, and others demanding a state-wide program for the safe return and disposal of left-over medicines.
WA has one of highest teen prescription drug abuse rates – 12 percent. Three out of five Washington teens say it is easy to get prescription pain relievers from medicine cabinets. 17,000 calls to WA Poison Center for kids under age six about prescription drugs in 2009. 32 percent of child poisoning deaths in WA caused by prescription medicines; 26 percent of child poisoning deaths caused by over-the- counter drugs.
Secure Storage & Safe Disposal 5 Today, prescription drug abuse is considered the fastest-growing drug abuse problem in the country…without question, getting old, unused, or expired drugs out of medicine cabinets is critical. -US Attorney General Eric Holder, Sept. 10, 2010
Many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.
Trash cans are not secure. Crushing and disguising pills can be dangerous! Toxic leftover medicines should not go in solid waste landfills. Doesnt ensure medicines wont get into the environment. Kitsap & Snohomish County ordinances do not allow disposal of medicines in garbage.
Pharmaceuticals have become a significant water pollutant nationwide. Presidents Cancer Panel, 2008-2009 Annual Report About one-third of medicines sold go unused each year. Roughly 33 million containers of medicines in WA.
Thurston Co. Sheriff – 1200 pounds in Jan-Sept 2010. Snohomish Co. Sheriff –1000 pounds in first nine months of program. 8,931 pounds in four hours across WA on Saturday Sept. 25 th, DEA Take-Back Day. Group Health & Bartells: > 50,000 pounds collected at 39 pharmacies since Oct 2006.
FEDERAL RESTRICTION – only law enforcement authorized to collect controlled substances. FUNDING – burden currently on local governments, law enforcement, pharmacies. Many existing programs struggling for funds. Most communities cannot afford. Federal Law changed
2SHB 1165 / 2SSB 5279 in 2010 session Require drug companies selling medicines in Washington to pay for and provide a secure take-back program. NOT a new govt-run program State government oversight Helps our communities
> $4 billion $451 million ~ 100 million = annual Prescription and OTC medicine sales in Washington = amount companies spend promoting drug sales in WA annually = estimated # of containers of medicines sold each year in WA about 1.5 cents per container would fund a statewide take-back program
Other funding sources are inadequate, mostly short-term, unstable, and piecemeal. Long-term, sustainable funding needed – linked to product sales. Pharmaceutical companies profit most from drugs sales. (77 percent of prescription cost returned) Pharmaceutical companies provide drug take-back programs in other countries.
Overprescribing/Overpurchasing. Patient doesnt finish. Changes in medications. Medicines expire. Lots of medicines needed during serious illness, but patient recovers. Lots of medicines, including strong pain relievers, needed for end-of-life care.
This is about saving even just one life…if we can dispose of cans and bottles and oil from our car properly, why cant we dispose of something the size of a dime that can kill you? Bernard Strain, whose teenage son Timothy died last year after accidentally taking prescription methadone pills that had been sitting in a medicine cabinet. New York Times, September 24, 2010
We need a long-term solution! Take Back Your Meds supports a system which would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide and fund take back programs throughout Washington state. The programs we have now cannot be financially sustained. Local governments, retailers and taxpayers should not have to shoulder the financial burden while those who profit ignore the problem.
Find out more at www.takebackyourmeds.org.www.takebackyourmeds.org Get the latest information by becoming a fan of our Facebook page – Takebackyourmeds. Follow us on Twitter – @takebackurmeds.
Snoqualmie Valley Youth Councils speak: What can we do to help you (student leaders) to address the misconceptions about prescription medications and the use of them by your peers? Natural Helpers trainings for students in the programs must include information about prescription drug use/abuse and what to do if a student needs help. Gym/Health teachers can provide more information to students. Have this issue included in school assemblies and go directly to students. This will touch all students and not just the ones seeking help or connecting to a Natural Helper. Have panel speakers events to talk to students, the message from those who have been affected carries more weight than a brochure.