Pixel Tracker

Friday, November 16 , 2018, 7:17 pm | Fog/Mist Smoke 59º


Santa Barbara County Looking at Options for Drug Take-Back Program

Santa Barbara County leaders agree that keeping those extra pain pills prescribed by a doctor or dentist from getting into the wrong hands is a priority, and they have been asking the public how to proceed since the current drug-disposal program has proven costly and unsustainable for local law enforcement.

The county Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to receive and file a report on the issue, and will get a look next year at a draft ordinance that could require pharmaceutical companies to fund the cost of a take-back program locally.

The county’s current program, Operation Medicine Cabinet, provides for eight drop-off bin locations where residents can dispose of unused medications. 

The program has been such a hit — 30,000 pounds of medication have been collected since the start in 2010 — that it has taxed law enforcement, who must make monthly trips with the loads down to an incinerator in Long Beach.

To come up with a new solution, the Santa Barbara County’s Public Health Department has been holding a series of public meetings to garner what sort of program could be started now.

Public Health’s Susan Klein-Rothschild said Tuesday that “the need is much greater than the current capacity of our program.”

The Drug Enforcement Agency, the federal entity that oversees drug take-back programs, changed some of its rules in 2014, one of which would allow pharmacies to be used as collection sites for unused drugs.

During the recent public meetings, people expressed interested in drug producers and pharmaceutical companies paying for a take-back program.

The county needs to do further analysis on the roles of pharmacies, the location of bins, safety and security, and how to serve needs of target populations, and Public Health will return next year with a draft ordinance. 

Similar ordinances have been enacted in other counties in the state, and most of the laws are on a voluntary basis, and “some pharmacies see this as a benefit,” Klein-Rothschild said.

The pharmacy at Cottage Hospital has already expressed interest, she said, but that research is still being done.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.