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WA Senate Considers Drug Take Back Program

City of Phoenix

A Washington Senate committee took testimony yesterday (Monday) on a bill that requires pharmaceutical companies to establish drug take back programs.

Similar bills have failed in Olympia in past years.

“What really makes this possible today is a couple of years ago the DEA changed the rules when it came to a lot of these substances and how we could dispose of them," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Strom Peterson (D-Edmonds).

“Quite simply, if we can get these drugs out of peoples’ medicine cabinets and, really not only opioids, but all sorts of other drugs that can be misused or through accidental poisonings from kids, for example, it just gives us one more opportunity to keep somebody from going down that spiral of addiction,” he said.

The take back programs would allow customers to return drugs of many kinds: prescription, non-prescription, veterinary, and those used in medical devices.

The bill requires companies that create take back programs to also run public education campaigns. The message would be to take your drugs for free disposal, rather than dumping them down the toilet or in other places where they might cause some kind of hazard. The drug manufacturers would be responsible for paying for and administering the programs.

Four western Washington counties have similar programs and so do a few other states, such as California.

This bill has already passed the House, 86-12.