Zoeller supports drug disposal bill

Keith Loria Jan. 12, 2011, 4:00pm


INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced on Monday that he has joined state lawmakers in a legislative proposal to allow citizens to get rid of their unwanted or expired prescription drugs.

The bill was introduced into the 2011 session of the Indiana General Assembly. If enacted, it would revise statutory and regulatory requirements in the state and allow pharmacies to accept and dispose of unused prescription drugs.

"Many parents might not realize that abuse of prescription drugs by teenagers is very common, and the source of the controlled substances is not a dealer on a street corner but the family medicine cabinet," Zoeller said. "Unused or outdated prescriptions easily get pilfered and the hazardous medications diverted for teen drug experimentation."

State Representative Kevin Mahan, R-Hartford City, is author of the legislation, House Bill 1121. State Representative Scott Reske, D-Pendleton, and State Representative Randy Frye, R-Greensburg, are co-authors.

"Flushing away old medicines is not the best option either, since pharmaceutical pollutants can get into waterways," Zoeller said. "This bill is a good remedy to both problems, and I applaud the legislators for introducing it."

The legislation would not require a police officer to be present while collecting the unused medication.

Numerous states already have similar programs in place, with pharmacies providing disposal bins where consumers can safely discard their unneeded prescription pills, tablets and liquids.

For this to take place in Indiana, state law would have to be changed.

In September, Zoeller's office joined with the Indiana State Police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in the National Drug Take Back Day, which allowed people to drop off unused and unwanted drugs around the state.

This resulted in nearly four tons of prescription drugs being collected in one day.

If passed, the bill would allow pharmacies to participate in a disposal program to accept unused prescription medications. This would include all controlled substances. The bill would authorize the Board of Pharmacy to write regulatory rules to implement the program so that the medications can be securely discarded in an environmentally safe manner while protecting patients' privacy.

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