Monday, January 7, 2013

Update: King County Take Back Your Meds Coalition

In 2012, the King County Board of Health formed a Secure Medicine Return Subcommittee to determine how they could support a permanent, secure, easily accessible medicine take back program locally.  To advocate for a medicine return program that would be part of a comprehensive youth medicine abuse prevention strategy, a King County Take Back Your Meds Coalition was formed.  The Coalition met last week and discussed several items including:

-- During the next Board of Health meeting, an update about the Subcommittee's progress will be provided.  It takes place January 17, 1:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

-- On February 1, at 9:00 a.m. the Subcommittee will meet to discuss specific policy options including possible requirements for education and promotion of a medicine return program.  These meetings are also open to the public though no public comments may be made.

-- The King County Take Back Your Meds Coalition is reviewing the Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) newly proposed rules governing the disposal of controlled substances.  Right now, only law enforcement agencies can take back unused narcotic medications, making the development of convenient take back programs that include drugs like Oxycontin difficult to establish.  New rules would allow other organizations to accept unused narcotics.  The DEA is currently accepting public comments about the proposed rules.

-- In 2012, Alameda County, California, passed a secure medicine return program to be funded by the producers of medicines.  In response, large pharmaceutical organizations are now suing the county.  How this lawsuit plays out may impact King County's efforts.

The next King County Take Back Your Meds Coalition meeting will take place February 4, 9:00 a.m. at Seattle Children's Hospital.

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