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For Immediate Release
June 18, 2009

Bipartisan Legislation to Reduce Teen Drug Use; Help Consumers Safely, Responsibly Dispose of Prescription Drugs



Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced bipartisan legislation with Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), to crackdown on the abuse of prescription drugs by teens and to provide patients with a safe and responsible way to dispose of outdated or unused prescription drugs.  The Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2009 would make it easier for people to legally dispose of their prescription drugs.  Companion legislation has been introduced in the House by Representatives Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Lamar Smith (R-TX).  The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security is scheduled to hold a hearing on safe drug disposal today where this legislation will be discussed.


“It’s common sense that if we’re going to prescribe drugs to patients, we also need to give them a reasonable way to get rid of any drugs they no longer need,” said Klobuchar.  “By making it easier for people to legally dispose of their prescription drugs, we can reduce teens’ access to these drugs, and help combat teen drug abuse.”


 “With prescription drug abuse becoming more prevalent in communities across the country, we need to take strong action to keep these drugs from moving out of the family medicine cabinet to the streets," Grassley said. "This proactive legislation allows people to safely dispose of often overlooked prescription narcotics and will help limit the chances of these highly addictive and dangerous drugs from falling into the wrong hands."



Under current law, consumers cannot easily dispose of outdated or unused prescription drugs.  Most drugs should not be thrown away or flushed because they can contaminate the water supply.  However, consumers are also currently prohibited by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) from giving many prescription drugs to another person, such as a pharmacist, for disposal.  Additionally, long-term care facilities are not currently allowed to dispose of prescription drugs on behalf of their residents.


Keeping outdated prescription drugs around the house leaves drugs readily accessible to children and teens.  Today, prescription drug abuse by teens is on the rise.  One in five teens report abusing prescription drugs.  In fact, more young people, ages 12 to 17, abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana. 


This legislation will amend the CSA to allow people to deliver many unused prescription drugs to an appropriate person for disposal purposes, as determined by the Attorney General.  The bill allows the Attorney General to issue regulations in order to ensure that drugs do not fall into the wrong hands.  The Act also authorizes the Attorney General to issue regulations that will permit long-term care facilities to dispose of controlled substances on behalf of their patients.