California lawmakers introduce bill to help combat opioid crisis

Literature on the dangers of prescription drug misuse, as well as special bags made for dissolving and disposing of opioids.

A new bill in the California legislature would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to facilitate "take back" programs for unused prescription drugs.

Prescription opioid addiction is an epidemic in the United States. In Butte County the use of opioids is well above the national and state average.

To help fight this, elected state officials are introducing Senate Bill 212, known as the Pharmaceutical Drugs and Sharps Take-Back Program.

The program would help prevent the unsafe disposal of unused prescription drugs, according to Steve Rodowick, Recycling Coordinator for the Butte County Department of Public Works.

"Even if you throw them in the landfill, that landfill produces leachate, which eventually goes to the waste water treatment plant," Rodowick said. "Then there's potential for additional exposure there."

Rodowick said It's important not to flush unused drugs down the toilet, as that could lead to water contamination as well.

One idea is for people to drop off their unused or unneeded prescription drugs at pharmacies, which would act as collection sites under SB 212.

As a last resort, people could also dissolve their drugs in sealed plastic bags using hot water.

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