September 08, 2014

Manchin Applauds DEA's Final Rule to Safely Dispose of Unused or Unwanted Prescription Drugs

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today applauded the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) finalized rules for the safe and secure disposal of prescription drugs, as required under the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010. According to the DEA, the regulations outline processes to transfer unused or unwanted pharmaceutical controlled substances to authorized collectors for the purpose of disposal. The new rules also permit long-term-care facilities to do the same on behalf of residents or former residents of their facilities. The new rules will take effect on October 9.

“By creating commonsense ways to securely dispose of unused or unwanted prescription drugs, we are taking direct action to combat prescription drug abuse that affects so many West Virginians and Americans,” Senator Manchin said. “In order to build strong, drug-free communities, we all must fight against prescription drug abuse by safely discarding old prescribed medications to the appropriate officials so that these potentially dangerous drugs don’t end up in the wrong hands. I applaud the DEA’s new rules and remain reassured that they will help save lives and curb the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs.”

The final rule will be officially published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, and will be available on both the DEA website,, and at


Senator Manchin has fought for many legislative initiatives to reduce the prevalence of drug abuse in West Virginia and across the nation, including:

• Hydrocodone Rescheduling: On August 21, 2014, after fighting to reschedule hydrocodone-combination drugs from a Schedule III to a Schedule II controlled substance for more than two years through proposed legislation and correspondence and meetings with FDA, HHS, and DEA officials, Senator Manchin applauded the DEA’s announcement that these highly addictive painkillers were officially reclassified.

• National Drug Take Back Days: Senator Manchin has encouraged West Virginians to participate in the DEA’s Drug Take-Back Day events, in which local law enforcement officials anonymously collect expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications at locations around the state with no questions asked. The DEA has hosted eight events since September 2010 and have scheduled a ninth event at the end of this month.

• Banning Zohydro: Senator Manchin sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to overturn the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the powerful and highly addictive opioid drug, Zohydro Extended Release (ER). Senator Manchin expressed his concerns with the FDA’s approval process given that the FDA’s own expert advisory panel voted against the approval of the painkiller by a vote of 11-2 and health experts repeatedly warned of the its potential to increase prescription drug abuse. In March, Senator Manchin introduced legislation to ban the dangerous painkiller from the market.

• Servicemembers and Veterans Prescription Drug Safety Act of 2013: Senator Manchin sponsored legislation that would provide for a prescription drug take back program for veterans and members of the Armed Forces. Drug take programs allow for the safe and effective collection and disposal of unwanted and unnecessary prescription drugs and would help to combat the challenge posed by prescription drug misuse and abuse in our military and veteran populations.

 Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act: Senator Manchin cosponsored Senator Rockefeller’s legislation that requires health care professionals to attend new safe pain management training courses, promotes consumer and patient education about safe disposal and treatment of prescription drugs, and supports state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.

 Expanding High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA): The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program provides funds to local law enforcement agencies located in counties in drug-trafficking regions. There are 11 counties in West Virginia currently designated as HIDTAs, and Senator Manchin is working with regional authorities to get more areas accepted into the program.

• Funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Senator Manchin has supported funding for COPS programs to provide local police departments with federal grant money. The program helps to advance community policing in many areas where funding is needed to help combat drug abuse.

• Funding for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG): Senator Manchin supports funding for the Byrne JAG program, which provides state and local governments with critical resources necessary to support various law enforcement efforts and drug treatment initiatives.

• Support for Drug Free Communities: Senator Manchin has supported funding for Drug Free Communities, which provides grants to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent substance abuse in youth.

• Support for National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month: Senator Manchin is a cosponsor of S.Res.261, which designated October 2011 as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. The resolution passed the Senate on September 23, 2011.