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Supervisor Nate Miley Hosts Safe Medical Disposal Conference

The conference aimed to advance a county-wide ordinance that would hold the pharmaceutical industry financially responsible for properly disposing of unwanted and unused drugs.

Numerous Alameda County officials, law enforcement and drug and environmental agency experts gathered at the on Wednesday for a day-long Safe Medical Disposal Conference.

Hosted by , in partnership with the Senior Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Prevention Workgroup, the conference aimed to address the need to protect youths, seniors and the environment from the potentially harmful effects of improperly tossing away these medications.

However, the conference was also conducted to spark discussion over that would be based on product stewardship — holding producers and manufacturers financially responsible for properly disposing of unwanted and unused medications and identifying possible drug take-back sites in each Alameda County city.

Miley said that although he expects the pharmaceutical industry to challenge the ordinance, he is willing to put up a fight because he believes it is "good public policy."

"If they're going to have products that we're going to use, I expect them to complete the loop," he said.

Based on a 2009 study conducted by Berkeley's Teleosis Institute, more than 65,000 pounds of pharmaceuticals were collected from 126 drug take-back sites across the Bay Area. Incinerating the drugs costed the counties nearly $120,000.

The six-hour conference featured a dozen speakers, including: Nancy O'Malley, Alameda County District Attorney; Greg Ahern, Alameda County Sheriff's Department; and Alex Briscoe, Director of the Alameda County Healthcare Services Agency.

They talked about related topics such as "pharm parties," a growing trend among teenage drug abusers who share drugs taken from their familys' medicine cabinets.

Presenters also brought up the possibility of following in the footsteps of other countries such as France, Spain and certain provinces of Canada, where their governments provide oversight on collection programs funded by drug manufacturers.

Under the current ordinance draft, the county's Department of Environmental Health would establish fees to implement, administer and enforce the ordinance.

Drug producers and manufacturers could potentially face penalties of up to $1,000 per day if found in violation of the ordinance. However, retailers placing their own store labels on drugs created by foreign manufacturers would be exempt.

Knowing and willful violators of the ordinance would then be charged with a misdemenaor.

Several city officials shared their current pharmaceutical disposal programs, which include permanent drug take-back sites and collection events. Miley said that despite the lengthy process in passing an ordinance, getting a drop box installed in every city could be a more easily achieved short-term solution.

Many at the conference had concerns over the implementation process. As drafted, prescription drugs would be scheduled as the first phase of medications to be collected. Over-the-counter medications and then controlled substances (if permitted by federal laws and regulations) would follow.

Linda Pratt, program director for , said that based on the current method used by many take-back sites, this phase-in system seems to be unnecessarily complicated.

"From what's happening now, people just dispose of everything at once in one place," she said.

Miley said he plans to analyze all the questions and suggestions offered Monday and work them into the second draft of the ordinance. He said about three or four drafts can be expected before the ordinance is presented one of two ways.

It can either go before the Alameda County Board of Supervisors or be part of a county-wide ballot. Miley said he prefers the second option.

"If we can't get the voters to pass something we think is good, then maybe we shouldn't pass it," he said.

In a related development, San Leandro's Senior Community Center will now receive expired prescription and over-the counter medications for proper disposal.

Simply empty pills into a zip lock bag, but keep liquids in their original containers and place in a zip lock bag.

Controlled substances such as Vicodin, Codeine, Valium, etc. are not accepted.

Drop off medications during normal business hours at the San Leandro Senior Community Center, 13909 East 14th Street, Monday – Friday 8:30am – 3:00pm.

Observer October 16, 2011 at 07:25 PM
Mr. Clark, you have admitted that you have attended many meetings. Every major issue in CV is vetted in numerous meetings. So many I bet you can’t attend them all. According to you there are CAG meetings, CAC meetings, MAC meetings. And there are Planning Commission meetings, Board of Zoning Adjustment meetings. Supervisors meetings and dozens of other commission meetings. If I want to know something about our government it is available. I found and unincorporated County web site. The CV Form and the Patch does a great job of informing. Government can’t force citizens to be informed. Give up blaming the world problems on a local elected government person. I think that you just don’t like Mr. Miley and it does not matter what he does or does not do. As Supervisor I think him to be quite competent.
Thomas Clarke October 16, 2011 at 08:55 PM
Observer, nearly two years of destroyed street is unacceptable. The cost is extraordinary and borne by all of us. No, I did not go to every meeting. Just look at the Unincorporated website and drill down and you will find 30% are cancelled with 1-2 days notice, no agendas are published ahead of time and no documents are ever supplied ahead of time. Our elected representative is Nate Miley and this blog is about Castro Valley, not the World. Government does restrict what we can access easily, witness Nate's lack of interest in the Unincorporated Committee. Best example I can recall is when Nate tried to get the Parole folks from the California Corrections Department to a hearing so that he could validate that the parolees are dumped in the Unincorporated areas. They blew him off, ignored all of the requests and he got the message, quit complaining about the dumping of parolees in economically disadvantaged areas. If you have ever been to BZA meeting you know that they are predisposed to franchises and not small business. Look at Castro Valley Boulevard with the burger and fast food line up from hell. I think we many have more fast food in Castro Valley per resident of any place in the nation. Has Nate shown any interest in this issue? No. He supports multi-nationals that take their profits out of the county and the state. Vote Nate Miley out as soon as possible. He has not done anyone any good except the folks who paid him off.
Observer October 16, 2011 at 11:13 PM
Mr. Clarke, you are just so mistaken. For example, you stated, “no agendas are published ahead of time and no documents are ever supplied ahead of time.” It is required by a law called the “Brown Act” which requires that all agendas are posted in advance. If the agenda is not posted in advance it is illegal to have any discussion at all by a board or committee. When I have looked on the internet for an agenda before a meeting they are always posted. Some of the statements you make just simply are not true. Such as the one above. I think you believe what you are saying but many of your conclusions are faulty. I have said enough on this issue.
Thomas Clarke October 16, 2011 at 11:56 PM
Observer, look at the content of the agendas. No details. Just the meeting. Nothing to be prepared for, just generalizations. The Brown Act has been emasculated for years with no prosecutions. I know that the Alameda County Grand Jury was tasked with looking at these issues specifically last year and they found that there was not a violation of statute though they did chide the BOS for being less than candid and helpful. Look it up. It is there.
Kevin Carrasco November 04, 2011 at 03:19 AM
The APhA-ASP student chapter at Touro University, in Vallejo, has just passed policy at their region 8 Midyear regional meeting in Las Vegas, NV, that addresses this same issue. The chapter hopes that it will gain support on the National level. Supervisor Nate Miley is addressing a very big problem and I, as well as many student pharmacists, support his efforts.

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