New Yorkers with leftover prescription drugs will now have safer options for discarding them, thanks to the state’s new Drug Take Back Act that went into effect on January 6, 2019. Lawmakers hope that one effect of this law will be to curtail drug possession crimes involving unlawful possession of prescription narcotics (e.g., oxycodone and fentanyl) or other prescription drugs that are commonly resold and misused (e.g., ADHD drugs like Ritalin and Adderall).
The Problems Created by Leftover Prescription Drugs
When someone is prescribed a powerful medication such as an opioid pain reliever, they are often left with extra pills that they did not need or preferred not to take. In some cases, these pills are flushed down the toilet by someone who does not realize the harm these drugs can do to freshwater supplies and aquatic life. In other cases, these pills find their way into new, unauthorized hands and contribute to the epidemic of opioid addiction and death by overdose that has plagued this nation over the past few years.
Various efforts were made to deal with this problem on a piecemeal and voluntary basis, such as drug drop-off points at police stations, local “drug take back” days, and collection stations at some hospitals and pharmacies. However, many believe that much more could be and needed to be done. The New York state legislature addressed this problem with the passage of the Drug Take Back Act during its 2017-2018 session, which added Article 2-B sections 290-294 and amended section 3343-b of the Public Health Law.
Objectives of the New York Drug Take Back Act
The Drug Take Back Act has multiple objectives:
- To raise awareness of the importance of proper disposal of leftover prescription drugs.
- To make it easier for consumers to return unused prescription drugs for proper disposal.
- To keep dangerous drugs off the streets, where they contribute to social and law enforcement problems, such as drug crimes and the cost of overdose treatment.
- To protect our water resources.
Requirements for New York Drug Retailers and Manufacturers
Effective January 6, 2019, the Act requires all chain drug stores and mail-order pharmacies in the state to accept for disposal Schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substances as defined in section 3306 of New York Public Health Law. Other authorized collectors may participate on a voluntary basis.
Pharmacies are required to prominently display signage that advertises the availability of the drug take-back service. Drug collection can be offered via prepaid mail-back envelopes, on-site dropboxes, and/or other methods approved by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Pharmacies offering mail-back collection must provide a voucher for a prepaid envelope when dispensing a covered drug, and such voucher must include information on the drug take back program and safe drug disposal methods.
In any city with a population of 125,000 or more, the New York Public Health Department is to ensure that collection sites are reasonably accessible to all residents. All costs of drug collection are to be paid or reimbursed by drug manufacturers.
Protection of Individuals Returning Drugs
The law requires that individuals be allowed to give back these drugs without identifying themselves. In addition, the law states that an individual’s surrender of drugs pursuant to this law “shall not constitute the possession, transfer or sale of a controlled substance.” This protects an individual from criminal prosecution in a situation where, for example, an adult son or daughter needs to dispose of drugs that had been prescribed for their parent.
Manhattan Drug Possession Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with illegal possession of prescription drugs such as opioid pain relievers, you need a seasoned possession, transfer or sale of a controlled substance on your side. Call JOEY JACKSON LAW, PLLC at 833-JOEYJACKSON or 833-563-9522.