On May 17, 2012 the Board of Health heard a briefing about safe disposal of unused and expired medicines as part of its ongoing interest in protecting the health and safety of King County. The briefing, held at the request of Board Member David Baker, provided the latest information about the limited number of medicine take-back programs in the County, as well as the perspectives of several community members and stakeholders. As a follow up, a subcommittee was convened to further study this issue. Subcommittee members include Chair McDermott, Board Member Conlin, Board Member Baker, Board Member Nicola and Director and Health Officer of Public Health David Fleming. The work of the Subcommittee has had two phases: (1) hearing from interested stakeholders, and (2) policy discussion and decisions.
The Board of Health Subcommittee on Secure Medicine Return has met six times since July 2012. After examining background information and hearing stakeholder interests and concerns, the Subcommittee is now making decisions on how to structure a producer-funded secure medicine return program for King County residents. The next Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for February 1, 2013. An initial public hearing at a future Board of Health meeting will be scheduled once a draft of a Rule and Regulation is complete, potentially within the next few months.
In collaboration with other organizations that are part of the King County Take Back Your Meds Coalition, Prevention WINS is monitoring the progress of the Secure Medicine Return Subcommittee. Prescription drug abuse among teens is increasingly a problem in our communities. While youth substance abuse prevention coalitions, schools, and other community groups continue to conduct educational campaigns among teens and their families about prescription drug abuse and how to prevent it, a producer-funded medicine take-back program is needed to enhance a comprehensive prevention strategy.