Dear Chairman Greenlick and Members of the Committee,
I am writing to register BRING Recycling’s support for House Bill 2386. BRING has helped our community develop new and effective solutions to waste and pollution for more than 45 years. A safe and effective prescription drug take-back program, paid for by those that profit from drug sales, is critical to protecting public health and the environmental quality Oregonians are justly proud of. We believe that, as drafted, H.B. 2386 and H.B. 2645 will provide for such a program.
Unused medicines are a public safety, public health, and environmental concern. Unwanted drugs lingering in the home or tossed in the garbage may end up in the wrong hands, those of children or drug dealers. Flushing drugs down the drain presents other problems. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality sampling has found trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in Oregon streams and rivers and even groundwater.
About a third of prescription drugs go unused. While pharmaceutical companies profit by over-prescribing drugs, local governments are burdened with the costs and responsibilities associated with the collection, transportation and destruction of these wasted medicines. Agencies like the Lane County Sheriff’s Department should not be saddled with paying to administer voluntary local drug collection programs with scarce tax dollars, and public safety facilities are neither the most appropriate nor the most effective locations for drug collection stations.
The cost to pharmaceutical manufacturers of setting up a stewardship organization to oversee a drug take-back program will be nominal, approximately 0.1 percent of annual statewide medicine sales. Oregonians already enjoy the benefits of several producer-funded stewardship laws governing the safe disposal of products ranging from paint to consumer electronics. There is no good reason prescription drugs should not be covered by such a measure. We join the Association of Oregon Counties and the League of Oregon Cities in urging the passage of H.B. 2386 or H.B. 2645.
Carolyn Stein Executive DirectorBRING Recycling