Mission and State: Disposed

April 17, 2014

Others across the country have not been so lucky. The number of accidental overdose deaths from prescription drugs has been on a shocking incline since 1980. More than 20,000 Americans died in 2008 of accidental prescription drug overdoses, according to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, outnumbering deaths from heroin and cocaine combined and surpassing traffic accidents as a leading cause of death in the U.S.

Despite these sobering numbers, statewide efforts to make it easier for consumers to rid their homes of unused prescription drugs took a major hit earlier this week. Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) withdrew legisltion that would have shifted the cost and management of unused drug collection to pharmaceutical companies.

“I’m disappointed,” said Jackson, who blamed a lack of support from colleagues in the Senate for her decision to shelve the bill. “But, I always expected change of this magnitude to be a multi-year effort. I look forward to taking the next several months to determine how to best move forward with legislation next year.”

Jackson’s bill was based loosely on a Canadian model that has been highly successful in helping consumers dispose of unused legal drugs. Under Canadian law, disposal bins are available in highly public places such as pharmacies and the pharmaceutical companies foot the bill.