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S. 3397 (111th): Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010

The text of the bill below is as of Oct 1, 2010 (Passed Congress).

One Hundred Eleventh Congress of the United States of America

2d Session

S. 3397



To amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide for take-back disposal of controlled substances in certain instances, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010.



Congress finds the following:


The nonmedical use of prescription drugs is a growing problem in the United States, particularly among teenagers.


According to the Department of Justice’s 2009 National Prescription Drug Threat Assessment—


the number of deaths and treatment admissions for controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) has increased significantly in recent years;


unintentional overdose deaths involving prescription opioids, for example, increased 114 percent from 2001 to 2005, and the number of treatment admissions for prescription opioids increased 74 percent from 2002 to 2006; and


violent crime and property crime associated with abuse and diversion of CPDs has increased in all regions of the United States over the past 5 years.


According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s 2008 Report Prescription for Danger, prescription drug abuse is especially on the rise for teens—


one-third of all new abusers of prescription drugs in 2006 were 12- to 17-year-olds;


teens abuse prescription drugs more than any illicit drug except marijuana—more than cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined; and


responsible adults are in a unique position to reduce teen access to prescription drugs because the drugs often are found in the home.


Many State and local law enforcement agencies have established drug disposal programs (often called take-back programs) to facilitate the collection and destruction of unused, unwanted, or expired medications. These programs help get outdated or unused medications off household shelves and out of the reach of children and teenagers.


However, take-back programs often cannot dispose of the most dangerous pharmaceutical drugs—controlled substance medications—because Federal law does not permit take-back programs to accept controlled substances unless they get specific permission from the Drug Enforcement Administration and arrange for full-time law enforcement officers to receive the controlled substances directly from the member of the public who seeks to dispose of them.


Individuals seeking to reduce the amount of unwanted controlled substances in their household consequently have few disposal options beyond discarding or flushing the substances, which may not be appropriate means of disposing of the substances. Drug take-back programs are also a convenient and effective means for individuals in various communities to reduce the introduction of some potentially harmful substances into the environment, particularly into water.


Long-term care facilities face a distinct set of obstacles to the safe disposal of controlled substances due to the increased volume of controlled substances they handle.


This Act gives the Attorney General authority to promulgate new regulations, within the framework of the Controlled Substances Act, that will allow patients to deliver unused pharmaceutical controlled substances to appropriate entities for disposal in a safe and effective manner consistent with effective controls against diversion.


The goal of this Act is to encourage the Attorney General to set controlled substance diversion prevention parameters that will allow public and private entities to develop a variety of methods of collection and disposal of controlled substances, including some pharmaceuticals, in a secure, convenient, and responsible manner. This will also serve to reduce instances of diversion and introduction of some potentially harmful substances into the environment.


Delivery of controlled substances by ultimate users for disposal


Regulatory authority

Section 302 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 822) is amended by adding at the end the following:


An ultimate user who has lawfully obtained a controlled substance in accordance with this title may, without being registered, deliver the controlled substance to another person for the purpose of disposal of the controlled substance if—


the person receiving the controlled substance is authorized under this title to engage in such activity; and


the disposal takes place in accordance with regulations issued by the Attorney General to prevent diversion of controlled substances.


In developing regulations under this subsection, the Attorney General shall take into consideration the public health and safety, as well as the ease and cost of program implementation and participation by various communities. Such regulations may not require any entity to establish or operate a delivery or disposal program.


The Attorney General may, by regulation, authorize long-term care facilities, as defined by the Attorney General by regulation, to dispose of controlled substances on behalf of ultimate users who reside, or have resided, at such long-term care facilities in a manner that the Attorney General determines will provide effective controls against diversion and be consistent with the public health and safety.


If a person dies while lawfully in possession of a controlled substance for personal use, any person lawfully entitled to dispose of the decedent’s property may deliver the controlled substance to another person for the purpose of disposal under the same conditions as provided in paragraph (1) for an ultimate user.



Conforming amendment

Section 308(b) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 828(b)) is amended—


by striking the period at the end of paragraph (2) and inserting ; or; and


by adding at the end the following:


the delivery of such a substance for the purpose of disposal by an ultimate user, long-term care facility, or other person acting in accordance with section 302(g).



Directive to the United States sentencing commission

Pursuant to its authority under section 994 of title 28, United States Code, the United States Sentencing Commission shall review and, if appropriate, amend the Federal sentencing guidelines and policy statements to ensure that the guidelines and policy statements provide an appropriate penalty increase of up to 2 offense levels above the sentence otherwise applicable in Part D of the Guidelines Manual if a person is convicted of a drug offense resulting from the authorization of that person to receive scheduled substances from an ultimate user or long-term care facility as set forth in the amendments made by section 3.

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate