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CCE PRESS CENTER

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release:
Thursday, May 8, 2014
For more information contact:
Louis W. Burch, Connecticut Program Coordinator, 203-821-7050, 203-503-1314 (mobile), lburch@citizenscampaign.org

VICTORY FOR CLEAN WATER: CONNECTICUT LEGISLATURE ENACTS STATEWIDE PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE-BACK PROGRAM

Environmental group praises measure to keep CT waters drug-free

Hartford, CT- A bill to establish our state’s first safe disposal program for unused and unwanted pharmaceutical drugs passed through both houses of the CT General Assembly last night just minutes before the midnight deadline, and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. The law will require police departments throughout the state to install and administer secure lock-boxes for the collection and disposal of unused and unwanted prescription drugs, whcih will stand as a model for other states to follow. Residents across the state will now be able to safely and anonymously dispose of their unwanted medication, instead of flushing them down the drain and ultimately contaminating local waterways and our Long Island Sound.
“I am delighted to see the work that I’ve done on this bill during the last 4 years has come to fruition,” stated Rep. Kim Rose (D-Milford). “It is a common sense bill that is good for the environment as well as a public safety measure. With prescription drug abuse on the rise, this is a way to properly dispose of medications and keep them out of the hands of people to whom it was not prescribed. There has been a pilot program in place, which has been very successful. With this bill, we can now expand the program statewide.”

Rep. Betty Boukus (D-Plainville) said, “Disposing of unwanted medications presents a series of problems – both environmental and public safety-related. Drugs in landfills or flushed into the sewer-system can lead to medications tainting the water supply. Throwing pills away in the trash could lead to dangerous medications getting into the wrong hands. This is a simple solution that provides residents with a safe, convenient way to dispose of unwanted medications.”

“This is a huge victory for Long Island Sound and other treasured waterways throughout Connecticut,” said Louis Burch, Program Coordinator for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “When the public has consistent access to safe disposal options, they will no longer turn to flushing unused pharmaceuticals, which is a dangerous and antiquated method of disposal. These drugs are designed for people with serious health issues, not for fish and aquatic wildlife.”

Once flushed, sewage treatment plants and septic systems are not designed to remove pharmaceutical drugs. National studies have found trace amounts of pharmaceutical drugs in the drinking water supplies of 41 million Americans. A study conducted by the US Geological Survey found low levels of drugs including antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and steroids in 80% of the rivers and streams tested.

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Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org

updated by dcoppola  5/9/14