Bera, Roe introduce bipartisan legislation to fund prescription drug disposal | Congressman Ami Bera

Bera, Roe introduce bipartisan legislation to fund prescription drug disposal

May 20, 2015
Press Release

Congressmen Ami Bera and Phil Roe, both medical doctors, introduced bipartisan legislation today to establish a grant program for funding prescription drug disposal across the country, the Dispose Responsibly Of your Pills Act (DROP) of 2015 (H.R. 2463). Research shows that more than half of nonmedical users of prescription medications got them from people they know. Properly disposing of prescription medications that are no longer needed is one way to help curb prescription drug abuse.

In the United States, prescription drug abuse is an increasing issue. It impacts people of all ages, across all socioeconomic backgrounds, and in all kinds of communities. According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an alarming 15.3 million people 12 or older used prescription drugs non-medically. That non-medical use is leading to thousands of deaths caused by overdoses each year. In fact, a 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report analysis found that prescription drugs were involved in more than half of the 38,300 overdose deaths in 2010.

“As a doctor, I’m very concerned about the increasing prevalence of prescription drug abuse in our communities,” said Bera. “Making proper prescription disposal available, and educating people on the importance ofappropriately throwing away unused medications are simple steps we can take to help solve a big problem. I’m proud to have worked with my Republican friend Dr. Roe on this important bill.”

“Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem throughout the United States, particularly in East Tennessee, and I am proud to partner with Dr. Bera on this important bipartisan legislation,” said Roe. “Our bill would establish a grant program to fund programs to help law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, narcotic treatment programs, hospitals and clinics, and long-term care facilities properly dispose of outdated or unused prescription medications. Currently, there are no existing grants available for programs to properly dispose of prescription drugs and I believe this effort could help curb the widespread prescription drug abuse we’re seeing around the country.” 

“I am particularly pleased that this proposed bill includes a provision for implementing community education strategies because far too often the public does not know what it does not know,” said Calvina Fay, executive director of Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. and Save Our Society From Drugs. “ Individuals have historically left unused medications sitting in their homes well beyond their shelf life and ultimately tossed them into their trashcans or flushed them down the toilet without any thought about where they end up or what impact they have on the environment or other individuals.  Most people want to do the right thing; they just need to be educated on this issue!  I believe that this bill will help the public to understand what needs to be done and why and also make it easier for people to comply.”

Bera has represented Sacramento County in Congress since 2013. Born and raised in California, he is a physician and the only Indian American currently serving in Congress. He’s fighting to rebuild an economy that works for middle class families and to reduce our country’s debt in a responsible way. One of Bera’s first acts in Congress was to help lead the effort to pass the No Budget No Pay Act, which says if members of Congress don’t pass a budget, they don’t get paid. As a leader of the No Labels' Problem Solvers, he’s working with people from both parties to find bipartisan solutions to our nation’s challenges. He and his wife Janine live in Elk Grove with their daughter Sydra. For more updates on Rep. Bera follow @RepBera on Twitter, like Congressman Bera on Facebook, or visit