Federal drug take back rule change curtails Maine data collection, cost saving
Yesterday's national drug Take Back day, sponsored by the US Drug Enforcement Agency, operated under new rules finalized last year, and the changes prohibited some of the public policy benefits of the program.
Back in early 2013, I reported on proposed state and federal rule changes that critics argued would reduce the environmental, cost saving, and drug abuse prevention benefits of Take Back programs in Maine. The federal changes would effectively prohibit longstanding data collection programs by pharmacy researchers that have saved the state's Medicaid program money by reducing the over-prescribing of oft-wasted drugs. The state changes would have allowed incineration of collected drugs at municipal -- rather than hazardous waste -- incinerators.
As I reported in yesterday's Portland Press Herald, both types of rule changes have since been implemented. Details therein.
I am an award-winning journalist and author of American Nations, American Character, Ocean's End, The Lobster Coast, and The Republic of Pirates. I'm a staffer at the Portland Press Herald, where I won a 2012 George Polk Award for my investigative reporting and was named a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist.