Medicine Return Legislation in Washington State

Update: Secure Drug Take-Back Act signed by the Governor into law March 22, 2018. March 22 media release

The WA House concurred on the Senate's amendments 84-12-2 on March 3rd.

Secure Drug Take-Back Act Passed WA Senate 49-0 on Feb. 27th.

State bill passed WA House 86-12 on Feb. 9th. Feb. 9th media release


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

  • Expands secure medicine disposal options to reduce risks of medicine poisonings, misuse, and overdoses, and prevent waste medicines from contributing to environmental pollution.
  • Improves convenience for residents by increasing the number of 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.

Fact Sheet on WA Secure Drug Take-Back Act ESHB 1047 (PDF)

Policy Overview of ESHB 1047 as Passed Legislature

Supporters List for WA Secure Drug Take-Back Act (PDF)

Please thank your state legislators who supported ESHB 1047 for a statewide secure drug take-back program provided by pharmaceutical manufacturers! See links to roll call votes in House and Senate on this bill summary page.

Secure drug take-back is part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce opioid and medicine abuse, overdoses, suicides, poisonings, and prevent environmental pollution from waste medicines.

Every community in Washington State needs secure and convenient medicine drop-off sites for getting unwanted and expired medicines safely out of our homes.


Resources & Background Information:

1047 Bill Summary Page & Complete Bill Language

Successful policy model. The WA Secure Drug Take-Back Act is modeled on the successful local Secure Medicine Return ordinances that are operating in King County, Kitsap County, and Snohomish County, WA. And are being implemented in four other counties: Pierce, Clallam, Whatcom, and Skagit.

Secure Medicine Return Ordinances and Programs in WA (PDF) - summary of status of model ordinances in several WA counties. Drug manufacturers are providing drug take-back programs with convenient drop-off sites at drug stores, grocery stores, hospitals, and police stations.

Estimated costs to drug manufacturers. 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.

Learn more about House Bill 1047's Financing Mechanism(PDF)

See our cost analysis

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 their own funds for program costs.

Supporters of the WA Secure Drug Take-Back Act. 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.

House Bill 1047 Supporters List (PDF) a partial list of the wide array of organizations and agencies supporting ESHB 1047

FAQs. 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.

Drug Take-Back Works! 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.

Get Involved

For individuals, click here to join our list to receive email updates about the WA Drug Take-Back Act.

For more information: contact Heather Trim at heather at zerowastewashington dot org

Last Updated (Monday, 02 April 2018 15:08)