Jackson Safely Disposes of Her Prescription Drug Medication To Raise Awareness About her Bill

April 29, 2013

SANTA BARBARA – Today, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) safely and publicly disposed of her unused prescription drug medication at an event designed to raise awareness about her Senate Bill 727, a bill that would require drug manufacturers to develop a comprehensive, statewide plan for the safe disposal of unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

“Every year, more than $26 billion in medications is prescribed in California. But 40-50% of those prescribed drugs end up unused. Unfortunately, the stockpiling of unused medications in the home allows for easier access for children and teens, so it’s fueling drug abuse by our young people, “ said Jackson. “In addition, flushing medications into our sewage systems contaminates the water we drink. This is a serious issue on a number of fronts.”

"For too long, local governments have paid for pharmaceutical take back programs, largely on the back of taxpayers and ratepayers of utilities," said Leslie Robinson, a project specialist with the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department. "It's time for the manufacturers of these pharmaceuticals to share in the responsibility of properly managing this dangerous and problematic waste and remove the financial burden from the public."

While some safe drug disposal sites do exist – including one at the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department – there are only 327 such sites in the state to serve 38 million Californians.

Under SB 727, a plan to dispose of these leftover drugs could come in the form of secure, drop-off locations at pharmacies, or it could be done via mail-in or door-to-door pickups, whatever drug manufacturers decide works best.

The event today at the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department included Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf, Dave Novis of the Santa Barbara County Advisory Board on Alcohol and Drug Problems, Leslie Robinson of Santa Barbara County Public Works, Sgt. Riley Harwood from the Santa Barbara Police Department; Linda Phillips with the League of Women Voters of California; and Gerry Ching, chair of the Los Padres chapter of the Sierra Club.

Tomorrow is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, a day when the public is encouraged to safely dispose of medicines in their cabinets. A prescription drug collection event is being held in Santa Barbara from 10 a.m until 2 p.m. tomorrow at the La Cumbre Plaza Mall, 121 S. Hope Avenue.

“While there are opportunities like those this weekend to dispose of prescription drugs safely, those opportunities are too few and far between,” Jackson said. “I believe we can and must do better. My bill asks drug manufacturers to take more responsibility for our growing, unused prescription drug problem.”

SB 727 will be heard in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on May 1.
Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

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Contact: Lisa Gardiner (916) 651-4019, lisa.gardiner@sen.ca.gov