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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Prescription Drug Buy-Back Programs

Senator Charles Schumer
The prescription narcotic epidemic has long been fueled by unused medications ending up in the wrong hands. Teenagers often raid their families medicine cabinets in search of the infamously popular drugs oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as other pain relievers and powerful sedatives. In the past, a number of states have offered annual prescription drug take-back days, state sponsored events where people can bring their unused and unwanted medications to officials to be disposed of properly.

In an attempt to encourage more people to participate in such programs, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York is calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to set up a prescription drug buy-back program.

In a letter to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, Schumer wrote recommending ways the agency could work with pharmacies and law enforcement to expand prescription drug take-back programs, The Post-Standard reports. Currently, DEA regulations prohibit pharmacies from staging take-back events; furthermore, state sponsored take-back events are infrequent and inconvenient, according to Schumer.

In his recommendation to the DEA, Schumer hopes that current regulations can be amended under the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010. By doing so, pharmacies and community organizations would be able to hold the much needed take-back programs.

“The DEA needs to be working with local pharmacies, governments and law enforcement agencies to get prescription drugs off the street, and take-back and buyback programs are the way to do that. The DEA must change the regulations so that certified pharmacies can hold take-back events and provide this vital service, and should put more funding behind buybacks to incentivize people to turn over their prescription drugs,” he said in a news release.
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