New legislation establishes legal structure for drug take-back; president also signed update to anti-methamphetamine law.
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama signed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 (S. 3397) into law. This law will allow patients who lawfully obtain controlled substances to transfer them to a government or private entity for disposal.
Under the provisions of the new law, the U.S. Attorney General will issue regulations governing the transfer of controlled substances for disposal to prevent diversion. Long-term care facilities will also be permitted to dispose of controlled substances on behalf of their patients or former patients. The Attorney General may not require any entity to establish disposal programs.
Michele Leonhart, DEA Acting Administrator, called the bill “an important step in addressing the alarming rise in prescription drug abuse” in a news release. “This bill will help reduce the diversion of prescription drugs that often sit in our own medicine cabinets far too long,” she commented.
Just last month, DEA received more than 121 tons of prescription drugs for disposal during the first ever National Take-Back Day. This initiative involved more than 4,000 take-back sites in all 50 states with the participation of nearly 3,000 state and local law enforcement agencies. The agency had organized National Take-Back Day because before the passage of the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act, there was no legal framework for the transfer of controlled substances.
Obama also signed the Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act of 2010 (H.R. 2923). This law will require sellers of products containing methamphetamine precursors to file a self-certification with the U.S. Department of Justice. This will include a statement to certify that the seller understands and agrees to comply with the legal requirements for the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine.