Monday, October 15 , 2018, 11:30 am | Fair 72º

 
 
 
 

Jackson Bill to Create Nation’s First Statewide Drug Take-Back Program Passes Out of Committee

A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to create the nation’s first statewide program to dispose of leftover prescription and over-the-counter drugs passed out of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on Wednesday. The vote was 5-1.

The bill is scheduled to be heard next in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on April 21.

A response to the growing problem of prescription drug abuse, accidental poisonings and traces of pharmaceuticals found in drinking water, Senate Bill 1014 would require drug manufacturers to create, finance and manage a statewide system for collecting and safely disposing of unwanted prescription drugs that people have in their homes.

The bill is modeled after an Alameda County ordinance that was the first of its kind when it was implemented.

“Every year, billions of dollars in medications is prescribed in California, but as much as 40 to 50 percent of those drugs can end up unused,” Jackson said. “These unused drugs create enormous public health and environmental challenges. We need a better solution than putting them in the garbage or flushing them, where they can get into our water, or leaving them in our medicine cabinets, where they can be taken accidentally or be misused and abused.”

For the past 15 years in British Columbia, Canada, in a program paid for by the pharmaceutical industry, consumers have been able to conveniently dispose of unused drugs in bins located at pharmacies, where they are safely destroyed.

While some safe drug disposal sites do exist in California, there are only 300 to 400 such sites in the state to serve 38 million Californians. This patchwork of programs doesn’t meet public demand and are financed by local governments and ultimately, California taxpayers, Jackson said.

“While a number of local governments have admirably stepped up to establish their own drug take-back programs, it’s the taxpayers who end up footing the bill for this, with no assistance from the multibillion-dollar drug industry,” Jackson said. “We are hoping that the industry will join us in recognizing that we have a problem, and helping to share the responsibility for what happens to these unused medications. We need a more cost-effective, systemic and efficient approach, one that I believe will ultimate end up costing us less than the overall costs we’re paying now.”

The bill is sponsored by the California Product Stewardship Council, Clean Water Action, the California Alliance of Retired Americans, the City and County of San Francisco and Alameda County.

Alameda County was the first local government agency in the country to pass an ordinance requiring drug manufacturers to develop, implement and pay for a drug take-back program. Three pharmaceutical associations responded by suing the county. The county prevailed in trial court and the case is now on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.

 

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
Email
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.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >