Petit votes for bill regarding disposal of unused prescriptions

State Rep. William A. Petit, Jr. (R-22) voted in favor of a bill in the House of Representatives recently that looks to allow certain state pharmacies to accept and dispose of unused prescription drugs.

“Across our state and the nation, we continue to see the effect of the opioid crisis, including a dramatic increase in the amount of deaths from overdose. Just recently, I toured a local substance abuse treatment facility which substantiated that these concerns are something that we are also dealing with locally in the towns of Plainville and New Britain. This measure is one way in which we can proactively work to combat the growing opioid crisis,” said Petit, according to a Republican press release. Petit is a member of the legislature’s Public Health committee.

Currently, the release explained, prescription drug drop boxes in Connecticut are located in local police stations.

The legislation, HB 5077, An Act Concerning the Return of Prescription Drugs to Pharmacies, allows for Connecticut licensed pharmacies to accept and dispose of unused prescription drugs.  The bill also allows for the potential for cooperative agreements between pharmacies and local law enforcement, which should help independent and rural pharmacy locations.

The bill has the support of the Connecticut Association of Community Pharmacies.

According to Governor Malloy, the press release said, Connecticut saw an increase in the amount of unused prescription medications that residents dropped off at collection boxes during 2016, with the state collecting a total of 33,803 pounds worth of various medications throughout the year. That amounts to a 43 percent increase compared to the amount that residents dropped off in 2015, when 23,651 pounds of unused drugs were collected by the state.

The final rule on the Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in September of 2014 expanded the authority of authorized hospitals/clinics and retail pharmacies to voluntarily maintain collection receptacles, the release said. These receptacles would still be subject to regulation and protections under the law. This bill will merely give pharmacies the option to participate as a collection site, not require it, and would likely help to get more prescription drugs off the street from folks who would otherwise feel uncomfortable returning them to the police directly.

The bill passed unanimously out of the House of Representatives and awaits further action by the state Senate.