Rallying drug take-back bill (SHB 1047) towards House Floor vote

This week, I have a personal call to action: Asking your state Representatives to support SHB 1047, the secure drug take-back bill. In order to stay alive, this bill (now in the House Rules Committee) needs to be pulled from Rules and receive a floor vote by 5PM on Wednesday, March 8.

With enough phone calls and emails to legislators, this will happen!

The WA Secure Drug Take-Back Bill (SHB 1047) will create a statewide medicine return program with convenient and secure drop boxes available at pharmacies, medical centers, and police stations throughout the state. People can use these drop boxes at no cost, or request a prepaid return mailer, to safely clean out their medicine cabinets. The collected medicines will be securely transported to a properly permitted disposal facility.

Background

Prescription and over-the-counter medicines help us when we’re sick and keep us healthy. And these powerful drugs also cause serious problems when they’re misused or thrown out. About 30% of medicines sold go unused, and increase risks of abuse, addiction, and poisonings when they linger in our homes.

Using a secure medicine take-back program is the safest way to dispose of the leftover drugs that so many of us have in our medicine cabinets.

Some communities already have a few secure drop boxes. But medicine take-back programs are not easy to find and not widely promoted because local law enforcement and health agencies have no funding source to deal with the tons of medicines coming in.

We need drug manufacturers to invest in this public safety program, and it will cost them just a small fraction – about 0.1% – of what they earn in billions of medicines sales every year.

We need a statewide bill

King, Snohomish, Kitsap, and Pierce counties recently passed ordinances that are similar to SHB 1047. In King County, drug manufacturers are now operating 99 secure drop boxes at drug stores, grocery stores, medical clinics, and police stations. We need to grow this program statewide to protect all of Washington’s residents!

An example of a medication disposal drop box

SHB 1047 is supported by law enforcement, fire fighters, public health agencies, prevention advocates, doctors, nurses, dentists, hospice and home care professionals, environmental organizations, and more!

Only the pharmaceutical industry is opposed, saying there’s no need for medicine take-back.

Learn more about secure medicine take-back here.

Messages to Representatives:

Call the Toll-free Hotline at 1.800.562.6000 to leave a message for your Representatives.

You can also use the Online Bill Comment system.

Sample Phone Message:

Please support SHB 1047 because we need more secure medicine drop boxes for leftover medicines.

(Choose from reasons why, like these):

We have to do more to stop drug abuse and addiction. Medicine take-back is part of the solution.

or

Medicine take-back gets drugs safely out of our homes to help prevent abuse, poisonings, and overdoses.

or

It’s not safe to flush drugs or throw them in the trash, I want a secure drop box at my local pharmacy.

or

This bill is a sensible investment in public safety and the pharmaceutical industry needs to be part of the solution.

Message for All House Members:

Please support SHB 1047, the secure drug take-back bill, and help this bill get a floor vote.

Bottom line: Every community in Washington needs secure, convenient medicine drop-off sites.  Don’t let the powerful drug lobby block this public safety bill. Ask your State Representative to support SHB 1047! 

– By Margaret Shields