WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Tom Rice (R-S.C.) released the following statement after introducing the Efficient Drug Disposal Act, which fixes unequal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that prevent law enforcement agencies from combating drug use in our communities.

“Since the Drug Enforcement Administration began allowing authorized entities to administer drug collection programs, drug take-back efforts have proved to be a very effective tool in fighting the opioid epidemic.  Law enforcement agencies are essential to the success of these programs, as they are tasked with collecting the drugs from the non-law enforcement locations and storing them on site” said Congressman Rice. “While law enforcement agencies are able to destroy narcotics seized through raids or arrests, outdated and unequal EPA regulations prohibit law enforcement from destroying narcotics collected as part of take-back programs. As a result, law enforcement agencies have to keep massive amounts of pharmaceuticals on site, which overcrowds evidence rooms and hinders their ability to participate in future take-back initiatives. The Efficient Drug Disposal Act fixes this regulatory disparity and supports law enforcement’s essential role in combating the opioid epidemic and keeping our communities safe.”

Congressman Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) was instrumental in drafting this legislation. He released the following statement upon the introduction of the Efficient Drug Disposal Act:

“I am proud to have worked with Rep. Tom Rice to support legislation that allows law enforcement to dispose of any opioid they obtain, whether it is a contraband drug or opioids voluntary surrendered to them. With this legislation, law enforcement will no longer have stock-piles of voluntarily surrendered opioids stored in their facilities, unable to be disposed of due to a technicality in a regulation. The Efficient Drug Disposal Act is just another step Congress can take to help combat the opioid epidemic that is facing our nation by ensuring opioids can be destroyed.”

Background:

  • The Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 granted federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies the ability to host period take-back events to collect unwanted pharmaceuticals. Law Enforcement Agencies are responsible for collecting the drugs from non-law enforcement locations and storing them in the agencies’ evidence rooms.
  • The EPA affords law enforcement agencies a broad exemption from solid waste and air pollution regulations when these agencies are engaged in the incineration of “illegal or prohibited goods” but the EPA unequivocally states that it does not consider pharmaceuticals voluntarily collected from households in a take-back program to be contraband or prohibited goods.
  • On the most recent National Take Back event, spanning just one day, over 4,683 participating law enforcement agencies collected 474.5 tons of pharmaceuticals.

 

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