Senator has introduced legislation to expand treatment, help combat prescription drug and heroin crisis


Washington (September 08, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement today commending the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) for releasing new rules to expand safe and convenient options for the disposal of prescription drugs. In 2010, Congress recognized that restrictions on the disposal of unused, unneeded or expired prescription painkillers were fueling the opioid abuse epidemic and passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act or 2010, which required the DEA to issue new disposal regulations.  


“Without safe and easy methods for disposal of unwanted or unneeded prescription drugs, home medicine cabinets have become invitations for drug abuse and misuse. With our nation gripped by a prescription drug abuse epidemic, these new drug disposal rules will help stem that rising tide and prevent abuse before it starts. 


“The success of these rules will depend on local law enforcement, retail pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies and others in both the public and private sectors fully supporting implementation. I urge the DEA to immediately convene these stakeholders to ensure that these new rules meet our urgent need for safe and effective disposal. We must take action now to confront this prescription drug abuse epidemic and reduce its tragic effects.” 


This year, Senator Markey has convened roundtables in Boston, Taunton and Holyoke, Massachusetts, to discuss a comprehensive strategy to address the opiate epidemic, including greater access to proven addiction treatments. In July, Senator Markey introduced the Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act (TREAT Act) expand the ability of trained medical professionals to provide life-saving medication-assisted therapies such as buprenorphine (also called Suboxone) for patients suffering from heroin and prescription drug addiction. Additionally, in March, Senator Markey introduced the Opioid Overdose Reduction Act, legislation that would protect individuals who administer lifesaving opioid overdose prevention drugs. 


Additionally, as part of his push to reduce barriers to the approval of new drugs for addiction, Senator Markey also has called on the Food and Drug Administration to engage researchers, addiction treatment leaders, and drug developers to develop and approve new therapies that will reduce drug use, as well as reduce the harms associated with it.