Medicine Return Legislation in Washington State

Every community in Washington State needs secure and convenient medicine drop-off sites for getting unwanted and expired medicines safely out of our homes.
Secure drug take-back is part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce opioid and medicine abuse, overdoses, poisonings, and prevent environmental pollution from waste medicines.

The WA Secure Drug Take-back Bill – SHB 1047 sponsored by Rep. Peterson (21st District):

  • Expands secure medicine disposal options to reduce risks of medicine poisonings, misuse,photo of WA legislator's desks and overdoses, and prevent waste medicines from contributing to environmental pollution.
  • Improves convenience for residents by providing secure drop boxes in pharmacies and hospitals, as now allowed under the DEA Rule for take-back of controlled substances.
  • Ensure financial sustainability through a system the pharmaceutical industry funds and coordinates, relieving burdens on law enforcement, local agencies, and taxpayers.

Please ask your state legislators to support SHB 1047 for a statewide secure drug take-back program provided by pharmaceutical manufacturers!

During the 2017 session, SHB 1047 passed through 3 House committees and picked up even more support, including from the WA State Pharmacy Association!  The bill will be automatically reintroduced in the 2018 session.  Please let your state legislators know that it's time to act!  Washington needs a statewide secure drug take-back program!

Zero Waste Washington is working to support passage of SHB 1047 with a large coalition of supporting organizations, including the WA Association for Substance Abuse & Violence Prevention, WA State Medical Association, WA Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs, WA State Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Forefront - Innovations in Suicide Prevention, the WA Poison Center, and many other organizations.

SHB 1047 Supporters List (PDF)

“Secure Medicine Take-Back For Our Communities” (PDF) Brochure - why WA needs SHB 1047, including bill overview.

Manufacturers' MED-Project Program Overview Handout (PDF) - a county's model law shows how SHB 1047 will work with convenient drop-off sites at drug stores, grocery stores, hospitals, and police stations.

SHB 1047 Bill Summary Page & Complete Bill Language

Secure collection of unwanted medicines reduces risks of misuse, poisonings and overdoses.  Secure drug take-back is a key part of a comprehensive strategy to prevent addiction to opioids and other medicines.  Safe take-back prevents waste medicines from entering sewer, septic, and solid waste systems and contributing to pharmaceutical pollution.

Learn more about the Problem with Unwanted Medicines & see our Medicine Return FAQs – provides more information and data sources.

Communities that have drug take-back programs find they are popular.  Large amounts of leftover medicines are coming in, even though there's little advertising. Many areas only have a few drug drop boxes at law enforcement agencies, when we know pharmacy take-back is more convenient and well-utilized. See a summary of some WA collection data and public surveys.

Drug take-back works, but there aren’t enough convenient medicine take-back programs in Washington state. Existing programs are under-funded and only serve some communities. See summary list of WA locations.

Manufacturers of medicines are the ones that can cover take-back costs in their business models. Internalizing this product safety cost to provide dedicated program funding. Other key stakeholders, like pharmacies and hospitals, contribute by hosting secure medicine drop boxes. SHB 1047 is not a tax or a fee on medicines. Manufacturers design their own take-back program and manage its costs.

The estimated cost to manufacturers of a statewide drug take-back program are a small investment for public safety - only about 0.1% of annual medicines sales of $5.7 billion in Washington State. See our analysis.

Learn more about SHB 1047's Financing Mechanism

This state-level legislation is similar to the local Secure Medicine Return ordinances that is operating in King County, WA and are being implemented in Snohomish, Kitsap, and Pierce counties.

Get Involved

For individuals, click here to join our list to receive email updates about the WA drug take-back bill.

For organizations, join the coalition of supporting organizations by contacting: Heather Trim, email: heather at zerowastewashington dot org

Last Updated (Saturday, 18 March 2017 09:44)