Bonamici, Washington County Share Progress Report on Efforts to Address Opioid Crisis
BEAVERTON, OR – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and state and county leaders gathered at Virginia Garcia Wellness Center for a progress report on their work to address the opioid crisis.
“The opioid crisis is still devastating our communities, and wreaking havoc on people from every background,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “Last year I published a report based on what I heard from Oregonians that outlines the federal solutions I’ve been working to move forward. Since then, Congress has passed the SUPPORT Act to address the opioid epidemic and I was proud to help Oregon receive $4.1 million in addition funding from the State Opioid Response (SOR) grants program.”
Bonamici announced that she will reintroduce her bill to increase disposal options for unused opioid medication, the Safe Disposal of Opioids Act, on Monday The legislation places a fee on opioid manufacturers to fund up to 10,000 drug disposal boxes around the country.
“One issue came up repeatedly at my community discussions: the lack of available disposal options for opioids and other prescription drugs,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “Many people have unused medications at home, left over after a surgery or illness, and too often those leftover drugs are misused by children, family members, or friends. Pharmaceutical companies that sell opioids must be held accountable for their role in the opioid crisis. These boxes will save lives and prevent addiction.”
Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington spoke about the county’s recently passed Drug Takeback ordinance, which took effect Thursday and tasks drug manufacturers with providing free disposal boxes in the county.
“Washington County’s drug takeback ordinance is just one of many strategies we are working on to reduce the misuse and harms caused by drugs in our community. The opioid crisis is hurting too many people and families and we must use all the tools available to stop it,” said Kathryn Harrington, Chair of Washington County.
“We know that leftover opioids are fueling addiction – it’s time we made it as easy to get rid of your leftover opioids as it is to get them in the first place! I applaud Congresswoman Bonamici and leaders in Washington County and Salem for making this issue a priority,” said Dwight Holton of Lines for Life.
"The opioid issue is complex and needs to be addressed with a variety of strategies including treatment and safe and convenient locations to discard unused medications. Virginia Garcia is committed to partnering with the state on how to address this crisis,” said Gil Muñoz, CEO of Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center.
“HB 3273 represents over two years of research, work groups, and rounds of compromise between local governments, patient advocates, clean water agencies, health care providers, and drug manufacturers, and will provide every community in Oregon with safe, convenient, responsible drug disposal. While this policy is not a panacea, it will help Oregonians safely dispose of their prescription drugs, and help reduce unlawful access to opioids. It’s great to see progress at the county, state, and federal level that will make a real difference,” said State Representative Sheri Schouten.
Her Safe Disposal of Opioids Act would amend the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) to create a grant program to help pharmacies and other qualified acquire and maintain drug disposal bins. These grants would be paid for by levying a small fee on opioids sold by pharmaceutical manufacturers. Overall, the revenue created by this proposal would provide enough funding to implement and service approximately 10,000 takeback sites.
Bonamici also recently introduced the House companion to Senator Jeff Merkley’s Opioid Treatment Surge Act.