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Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of S. 3397, as amended, the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010. This bill is our effort to respond to the very rapidly rising rate of prescription drug abuse in our country where 2,500 teens a day are using prescription drugs illegally for the first time. And this bill will help, we think, significantly in helping remove prescription drugs from the illicit drug pipeline by giving citizens an ability to get rid of their drugs, their prescription drugs, in a legal fashion so that communities can fashion a way to create drug take-back programs so citizens can get rid of their unnecessary and no longer useful prescription drugs.
The House has previously passed a version. We have made some improvements to the bill after it went through the Senate. I just want to note some of those improvements.
Today, when people do not have ready access to drug disposal programs, they often flush them down, and drugs ultimately end up in the waterways. In order to ensure that the drug take-back programs that we fashion under this bill are environmentally sound, it's important that the Attorney General consider the environmental impacts of take-back programs and work with the Environmental Protection Agency and communities on appropriate ways to dispose of the collected substance in an environmentally sound manner. We also have provided ways to make sure communities are engaged in designing these programs so that they meet the individual needs of specific communities.
I want to thank all the people who have worked on this bipartisan legislation, particularly Representative Stupak who is ending his congressional career having done some great work in this regard.
With that, I yield as much time as he may consume to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Stupak).
Mr. STUPAK. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I rise in support of S. 3397.
Millions of Americans are prescribed narcotics for postoperative pain, bone fractures, and other ailments each year. However, most patients do not consume all the prescriptions they are prescribed. These drugs remain in drug cabinets for years, easily accessible to teens wishing to experiment with drugs.
But failure to dispose of prescription medications properly causes several problems. First, there's the potential for a child to ingest the drugs accidently. Second, we know that teen prescription drug abuse is on the rise. Unused prescriptions in a house are easily accessible to teens wishing to experiment with drugs. Third, there's a potential for narcotics to be abused by the patient or sold to someone else to abuse.
The Controlled Substance Act regulates prescription narcotics through a registration system. Currently there are roughly 1.3 million DEA registrants who are legally allowed to handle or distribute narcotics from the manufacturer to the distributor to the pharmacist to the doctor. However, the Controlled Substance Act currently exempts patients from this registration requirement. This legislation allows individuals to dispose of unused prescription controlled substances to a recipient authorized by the DEA, Drug Enforcement Administration.
The bill also authorizes the Attorney General to promulgate regulations for the lawful disposal of prescription controlled substances by a long-term care facility. S. 3397 also clarifies that the DEA regulations set forth in this legislation may not require any entity to establish a drug take-back program. It's a voluntary program.
I want to thank my friend and colleague Jay Inslee for all of his hard work on this legislation and his staff over the past years, Lamar Smith on the minority side, who worked closely with us, and colleagues on both sides of the aisle and their staff for their hard work and commitment to empower patients to prevent prescription drug abuse, especially amongst young people.
I urge my colleagues to vote in support of this legislation.
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