Safe Pharmaceutical Drug Disposal Bill Passes the Illinois House
Springfield, IL – Legislation that will increase safe and convenient drug take back locations for consumers across Illinois, House Bill 1780, passed through the Illinois House of Representatives today on a vote of 96 to13. The unsafe disposal of unused or expired prescription drugs presents both a public health and an environmental pollution risk.
“This legislation will make Illinois a healthier, safer place for our families. Too often, teens and younger children find unused or expired medications, which leads them down the path toward addiction,” said state Rep. Gong-Gershowitz, the bill’s chief sponsor. “Flushing old medication causes serious damage to our community’s drinking water, our waterways and wildlife. Illinois families need a safe, convenient way to dispose of their old medications and this bill is designed to accomplish that.”
The path to opioid addiction often starts in the home medicine cabinet, but disposing of unused or expired prescription drugs by flushing them down the toilet poses another health risk: polluted drinking water. HB1780 would tackle both problems by establishing a statewide drug take-back program funded by drug manufacturers providing a safe, convenient and environmentally friendly way to dispose of unwanted medications.
“We applaud lawmakers for supporting this important legislation, which would offer safe and convenient drug take back locations for residents across Illinois. This action demonstrates the impactful policy that can be advanced by working collaboratively, and we thank our partners in the environmental, solid waste and manufacturing communities for their partnership on this effort,” said Alec Laird of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
“Proper disposal of prescription drugs will work to protect Illinois’ wildlife, waterways and drinking water. We are grateful to Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz for her leadership and to the business community for working to reach agreement on this important policy,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council.
Storing unused or expired medicines can lead to accidental poisoning, drug abuse and even drug trafficking. More people start down the path of addiction through the misuse of opioid prescription drugs than any other substance. In Illinois, prescription pain medication overdose deaths doubled between 2013 and 2016, with 1,896 deaths in 2019 alone.
“Lake County is pleased to see HB 1780 get such a positive response today. Its impact will be far reaching to our residents and others throughout the state as we remove drugs from households in a safe and more comprehensive manner,” said Walter Willis, executive director of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County.
“We are delighted that the citizens of Illinois are one step closer to having safe, convenient and free medicine collection statewide. The producer pays policy model is working well in many countries, including Canada and Mexico, and we think the citizens of the United States should benefit from the same program,” said Heidi Sanborn from the National Stewardship Action Council.