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Portman, Brown, and Ohio Representatives Urge the Administration to Offer Safe Prescription Drug Disposal Options

8/1/2014, 9:02 p.m.

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) along with Reps. Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03), Steve Chabot (R-OH-01), Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11), Bob Gibbs (R-OH-07), Bill Johnson (R-OH-06), Jim Jordan (R-OH-04), Dave Joyce (R-OH-14), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-09), Bob Latta (R-OH-05), Jim Renacci (R-OH-16), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Steve Stivers (R-OH-15), Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12), Mike Turner (R-OH-10), and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-02) urged the Administration to address the misuse and abuse of unused prescription drugs by ensuring that all Americans have a safe and convenient method for disposing of unwanted, unused, or expired prescription drugs. The lawmakers expressed concern that the implementing guidance for the Drug Disposal Act has been stalled at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and urged the Administration to issue the rule.

“…As you may know, prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States and is affecting all age groups, including middle and high school students,” the lawmakers wrote. “In 2012 alone, 1,914 Ohioans died, and studies show that 70% of abused medications are obtained from families or friends. Therefore, it is imperative that prescription drugs be kept out of the home setting when plausible. Proper disposal methods must be implemented so that we may curb the growing prescription drug abuse problem in the United States.”

Full text of the letter can be found below and here.

July 31, 2014

Mr. Shaun Donovan

Director

Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20503

Dear Director Donovan:

In order to ensure that all Americans have a safe and convenient method for disposing of unwanted, unused, or expired prescription drugs, we urge you to complete expeditiously your review of the proposed Disposal of Controlled Substances rule. This rule was transmitted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) on February 25, 2014, and the automatic 90-day review period has expired. We are troubled that the DEA has yet to issue final regulations that could help address the misuse and abuse of unused prescription drugs and are concerned about the extended duration of this rulemaking.

The Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 authorized the Attorney General to promulgate regulations for delivery of controlled substances by ultimate users for disposal. Attorney General Holder delegated this responsibility for promulgating the Disposal Act implementing regulations to the DEA. After taking public comment and holding a public meeting January 19-20, 2011, the DEA published notice of proposed rulemaking for disposal of controlled substances on December 21, 2012. As of July 2014, the DEA continues to be unable to provide any timetable for approval of the final rule.

Until the DEA finalizes the implementing regulations for the Disposal Act, ultimate users are not permitted to deliver their lawfully obtained controlled substances to any other person for the purpose of disposal other than by surrender to law enforcement or under direction of the area’s DEA Special Agent in Charge. The proposed rule would expand the options available for the collection of prescription drugs, including more take-back events, programs to mail-back prescriptions, and increased availability of collection receptacles. Unfortunately, without a final rule the State of Ohio does not have all necessary tools to implement any of these options and get potentially deadly, unneeded prescription medications out of circulation.