Monday, January 28, 2013
Drug takeback programs: a puzzling federal rule change
This is why yesterday's Maine Sunday Telegram story should be of interest. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency has proposed rules changes that would explicitly forbid such data collection. The DEA declined to say if they'd considered these advantages when drafting the rules, which aim to prevent diversion of drugs and preserve patient anonymity. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine and a legislative champion of drug takebacks, says she'll be seeking further clarification from the DEA on this point.
At the state level, the story also notes an effort by the commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, former chemical industry lobbyist Patricia Aho, to redefine rules governing how collected drugs are to be disposed. In short, they'd be reclassified from hazardous to household waste, allowing them to be burned in municipal waste incinerators in-state, with a hundred-fold cost savings. Whether this is sound policy or note depends on the conclusions and efficacy of upcoming tests at Portland's ecoMaine facility.