Senate passes pharmaceutical take-back bill

The Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would amend existing federal law dealing with the disposal of controlled substance medications, making it easier to safely get rid of unused medications.

Currently the Drug Enforcement Administration must approve take-backs of certain controlled substances which must be delivered to that agency by the patients authorized to use them. This policy creates problems for relatives of patients who have died and leave unused medications.

The new law, called the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, would grant the Attorney General the authority to create new regulations that allow anyone – patients or caregivers of the deceased patient – to dispose of unused medications. It would also give long term care facilities permission to dispose of those drugs on behalf of their residents.

If this bill becomes law, it will go a long ways towards protecting our nation’s water supply from improperly disposed of meds that often get flushed or thrown out. It will certainly give caregivers a viable safe alternative.

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