Sen. Charles Schumer was at the Kinney Drugs on Electronics Parkway Monday morning to call upon the Drug Enforcement Administration to make an amendment to legislation which would allow pharmacies to take back legal prescription drugs at any time.
Currently, a law passed in New York State allows pharmacies to take back drugs at any time, however federal legislation supersedes the state law.
Schumer says legal prescription drugs are abused by children from their parents' own medicine cabinets far more than from a drug dealer - by a margin of 70% to 5%. He is also urging the DEA to implement a buyback program, which would take money seized from illegal activities and use it to buy back legal drugs. He says, if passed, he's looking to have these new regulations to be implemented within the next few months.
Schumer says in 2011 there were more than 3,100 cases of reported prescription drug abuse in Central New York, and 1,620 in Onondaga County alone. Schumer noted that, nationwide, 70% of those addicted to prescription drugs get them from home, and only 5% get them from a drug dealer, according to the Centers for Disease Control. He says current drug take back events are "infrequent and can be inconvenient", which Schumer says "is a missed opportunity to take prescription drugs off the streets and help dispose of the medications responsibly."
Schumer's office says a recently-passed New York State bill would certify participating pharmacies to hold drug take back events, it cannot become a reality until the DEA amends regulations under the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010. he says he is "Urging the DEA to quickly amend these regulations so that the New York State legislation can be fully implemented, and to establish and fund programs that will increase the amount of medication turned over."
Schumer also wants to start a buy back program. This would use money taken from illegal drugs seized by the DEA and use it to pay people for bringing in their prescription drugs.
"A kid in high school hears , oh vicodin that's a great high and then he sees it or she sees it in the medicine cabinet at home and says, oh this cant be too bad! It's in a bottle for a prescription that my mom had ," says Schumer. "This is everywhere, it's in the suburbs, it's in the city, it's in the rural areas. It effects poor families, middle class families and wealthy families, it's everywhere."
Neighbors like Marga Kabala and Anne Murgmeier feel this is a good idea as they say it would hopefully lower addiction rates and keep expired prescription drugs out of the hands of children.
"I think so because I've taken medicine back to my doctor to dispose of so I think it's a great idea," says Kabala.
" There's no hassle you don't have to have all these prescriptions hanging around. I just think it makes a lot of sense ," says Burgmeier.