NEW CITY, N.Y. -- State Sen. David Carlucci, D-Rockland/Westchester, was joined last week by advocates from Friends of Recovery, some of whom have lost loved ones to drug overdoses, to announce Carlucci’s introduction of legislation mandating that pharmacies initiate drug take-back programs.
Carlucci’s bill would give authority to the commissioner of health to develop rules and regulations to require all chain pharmacies in the state to take back and dispose of any unused prescription medication.
“We all know prescription drug abuse is a significant public health and safety issue,” Carlucci said. “When used as prescribed, prescription drugs are essential to keeping millions of people healthy. I am proud to have introduced this legislation, and I urge more legislators to sponsor it. The bottom line is we need to get dangerous unused medication off the streets.”
The senator’s new initiative comes in the wake of his successful campaign to make the opioid antidote naloxone available over the counter.
The problem of prescription drug abuse, however, remains rampant.
Current studies show the problem has become increasingly prevalent among children.
According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, 56.5 percent of teenagers obtain prescription medications from friends or relatives, compared to 18.1 percent who have medicines prescribed to them by a doctor.
Caren Schwartz, an advocate from Friends of Recovery – Rockland who stood with Carlucci during his announcement, knows the dangers only too well.
“I am a mother who lost her son one year ago to a heroin overdose,” she said. “However, this disease of addiction didn’t start with heroin: It was prescription pills. I will continue to tirelessly advocate for the recovery community and continue to educate others about the disease of addiction and what is necessary in our community to fight it.”
Schwartz added that Carlucci’s legislation is an important effort in the campaign against substance abuse.
“This legislation is necessary to assist in getting unused prescription pills off the street, and is a great next step in battling this epidemic,” she said. “Thank you, Sen. Carlucci, for continuing to come up with solutions to address this serious problem.”
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