Address the opioid crisis / secure medicine return

Opioids Secure Medicine Return

WSNA supports legislation to address the opioid epidemic and to ensure patients have a safe, secure way to dispose of unwanted and unused medications.

Address the opioid crisis

During the 2017 session, legislators passed HB 1427 which addressed preventive measures aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic, such as:

  • Requiring rulemaking to establish requirements for prescribing opioid drugs.
  • Sharing of the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program data with provider groups and health care facilities for quality improvement processes.
  • Making it easier for opioid treatment programs to be established in communities. In 2018, WSNA will support bills to further prevent and provide treatment for opioid addiction in our communities.

Omnibus opioid legislation

By request of the Governor, this legislation was introduced to address the opioid epidemic. The Governor’s budget, released in December 2017, included nearly $20 million for opioid prevention and treatment.

ESHB 2489: Concerning opioid use disorder treatment, prevention, and related services

WSNA strongly supports this bill that would:

  • Modify protocols for using medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
  • Promote a statewide approach for addressing opioid use disorder.
  • Permit the Secretary of Health to issue a standing order for opioid reversal medication.
  • Establish new requirements for how electronic health records integrate with the state’s prescription monitoring program.
  • Require development of strategies to support rapid response teams.
  • Allow hospital emergency departments to dispense opioid overdose reversal medication when a patient is at risk of opioid overdose.
  • Permit pharmacists to partially fill a prescription for Schedule II controlled substances.
  • Require certain health care practitioners to complete one hour of continuing education regarding best practices in opioid prescribing, register for the prescription monitoring program, and sign an attestation that the practitioner has reviewed the rules for prescribing opioids, in order to prescribe opioids.
  • Require practitioners who prescribe an opioid for the first time during the course of treatment for outpatient use to discuss risks of opioid use with the patient.
  • Remove approval and verification requirements for electronic prescription systems.

Secure medicine return

Secure medicine return, or take-back, programs are an important public health and safety strategy to rid homes of unused or unwanted medicines – reducing misuse and abuse of medicines. These programs also ensure environmentally sound disposal of waste medicines.

ESHB 1047: The Washington Secure Drug Take-Back Program

WSNA strongly supports this bill that would:

  • Expand secure medicine disposal options to reduce risks of medicine poisonings, misuse, and overdoses, and prevent waste medicines from contributing to environmental pollution.
  • Improve convenience for residents by providing secure drop boxes in pharmacies and hospitals, as now allowed under the DEA Rule for take-back of controlled substances.
  • Ensure financial sustainability through a system the pharmaceutical industry funds and coordinates, relieving burdens on law enforcement, local agencies, and taxpayers.

ESHB 1047 would create a statewide program

Right now, Washington residents do not have equal access to secure drug take-back programs. Without a statewide program, some counties have passed local Secure Medicine Return ordinances – King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Clallam, Skagit and Whatcom counties are currently in process of implementing programs.

The statewide take-back program cost is estimated to be about 0.1% of drug companies’ annual medicines sales — a small investment for public safety!


More information and resources