Westchester County Legislators

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Shimsky’s ‘Drug Take Back’ Bill Moves Forward in Committee

Proposal Aimed to Stem the Tide of the Opioid Abuse in Westchester

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) During a meeting yesterday of the Board of Legislators’ Committee on Infrastructure, members spoke with Vivian Fuhrman, Senior Associate for Policy and Programs at the Product Stewardship Institute, on the mechanics of and rationale for Legislator MaryJane Shimsky’s (D-Hastings-on-Hudson) proposed drug take back bill.

The bill, formally titled the Prescription Drug Stewardship Program law, requires pharmacy chains with more than three stores in Westchester County to become locations to dispose of unused medications. This proposal allows for fines of up to $1,000 to companies failing to comply.

“Today was a welcome opportunity for legislators from both sides of the aisle to ask questions as to how this proposal would be implemented in Westchester,” said Shimsky.

“The need for this program speaks for itself: 7 out of 10 victims of prescription drug addiction get their drug of choice from friends or family members. I look forward to finalizing a piece of legislation that will be one tool in a multi-pronged approach to combat the rising opioid epidemic that is having such a devastating effect on our community,” added Shimsky.

The Product Stewardship Institute, who also assisted in Rockland County’s passage of an almost identical law, offered testimony at today’s hearing on the logistics and benefits of pharmaceutical stewardship programs in various regions that have already established them.

"We applaud Westchester County for recognizing that drug companies are responsible for safely managing leftover medications and have a key role in reducing drug abuse and water quality impacts," said Scott Cassel, chief executive officer of the Product Stewardship Institute, which has promoted drug take-back around the country for over a decade. “We hope this ordinance propels New York state legislators to pass a law to ensure all that state residents have access to convenient, safe drug disposal options, and that it paves the way for other municipalities and states around the nation to pursue similar legislation."

“In the United States, someone dies every 14 minutes from an unintentional drug overdose. This common sense proposal is one way to get these deadly drugs out of our medicine cabinets,” concluded Shimsky.

Click here for previous Press Release on the Bill’s Introduction

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