Drugs in the Bin, We All Win!
What's in your medicine cabinet?
If you're like many Californians, you likely have bottles of unused and expired prescription drugs.
PLEASE don't flush them, don't throw them away, and don't just leave them there.
Drugs left in medicine cabinets fuel a growing problem of prescription drug abuse. (A recent UC Santa Barbara forum in which I participated reminded us of the impact of prescription drug abuse in our communities.) Drugs that are flushed down toilets can contaminate our water. Drugs left in the trash can be retrieved by people or pets, or leach from landfills into our water.
In our community, we have the option of disposing of drugs in convenient, safe bins at Sheriff's offices and police departments. Find out more about where to dispose of unused prescription drugs in Santa Barbara County and Ventura County.
But opportunities to safely dispose of unused prescription drugs in a state with nearly 39 million people still remain too few and far between.
I also believe the drug industry needs to share in the responsibility for the safe disposal of their products.
Our current drug take-back programs are funded by local governments, which means they are ultimately funded by us, the taxpayers, without assistance from the highly profitable pharmaceutical industry.
Since I began serving as your Senator, I have authored legislation to create a statewide drug take-back program funded by the pharmaceutical manufacturers. Canada currently operates such a program successfully, and take-back bins are located conveniently in pharmacies. Why can't California do the same?
While my previous legislation stalled due to Big Pharma's opposition, the fight for a statewide drug take-back program continues. Six local governments have passed ordinances. Santa Barbara County is considering such an ordinance, as is Los Angeles County.
To assist in this effort, I have just introduced Senate Bill 1229, to make it easier for pharmacies to host secure drug take-back bins by addressing concerns surrounding liability issues.
We must continue making safe, convenient disposal of prescription drugs a priority. Our public health, water, and environment are at stake.
Remember - drugs in the bin, we all win!
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Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson
State Senator, 19th Senate District