Yesterday, the Seattle City Council's public safety committee adopted a resolution supporting the medicine return program and encouraging pharmacies and police precincts to participate.
A RESOLUTION expressing the City’s support for an effective, countywide safe prescription drug disposal program, including controlled substances, and requesting local pharmacies and the Seattle Police Department to install drug disposal drop-boxes across the City.
WHEREAS, in June 2015, the University of Washington (UW) Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute reported that drug-caused deaths involving heroin and/or methamphetamine peaked in King County in 2014, including a 58 percent increase in heroin deaths; and
WHEREAS, a 2013 study by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicated that four out of five recent heroin users previously used opioid pain relievers such as oxycodone; and
WHEREAS, research suggests that these individuals switched to heroin because it is less expensive in the illegal marketplace than opioid pain relievers; and
WHEREAS, one component of a comprehensive public health approach to addressing drug abuse is the safe disposal of unused prescription drugs, including controlled substances; and
WHEREAS, safe disposal of unused prescription drugs, especially opioid pain relievers, reduces the risk of nonmedical use that might lead to drug abuse, including heroin addiction; and
WHEREAS, adolescents and young adults who experiment with nonmedical use of opioid pain relievers are most likely to obtain them from friends and family members who had received a prescription; and
WHEREAS, improper disposal of prescription drugs, including controlled substances, contributes to environmental degradation, as documented in a recent study that found traces of numerous prescription drugs in Puget Sound waters, as described in a 2016 article in the journal Environmental Pollution; and
WHEREAS, President Obama recently announced a number of new actions to address opioid abuse and proposed spending $1.1 billion in his FY 2017 budget for this purpose; and
WHEREAS, many pharmacies in the Seattle area have offered drug disposal drop-boxes for unused vitamins, over-the-counter medicines, and some prescription drugs; and
WHEREAS, per an October 2014 U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency rule, police departments and pharmacies may now provide safe disposal boxes for controlled substances like OxyContin, Vicodin, Valium, and Ritalin; and
WHEREAS, a growing number of police departments in King County are offering safe disposal of controlled substances, including Auburn, Bothell, Burien, Issaquah, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Maple Valley, Sammamish, Snoqualmie, and Woodinville; and
WHEREAS, King County has launched a new effort to enhance safe prescription drug disposal efforts and a stewardship organization retained by King County will be providing funding for installation of drop-boxes, staff training, and collection of the drugs; NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING, THAT:
Section 1. The City Council and the Mayor ask that local pharmacies partner with King County to provide safe drug disposal drop-boxes at locations across the City.
Section 2. The City Council and the Mayor likewise request the Seattle Police Department to install prescription drug disposal drop-boxes at each of its five precincts.
Section 3. The City Council and the Mayor ask that other appropriate City agencies like the Department of Neighborhoods, the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, and the Office for Civil Rights offer assistance to King County to help ensure that the County’s drop-box disposal program is designed to be culturally appropriate and accessible for marginalized populations, including limited English speakers.