MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Seventh District Congressman, Tom Rice has proposed a new bill that would allow local law enforcement to safely destroy the prescription pills they receive voluntarily through prescription take back programs.
Currently, the EPA forbids law enforcement from destroying these pills on site, requiring police to sometimes travel far distances to bring the prescriptions to a proper disposal entity. Rep. Rice says that can be a burden to law enforcement.
“What ends up happening is the law enforcement agencies put them in drums and stick them in the basement,” says Rep. Rice.
With this new bill, Rep. Rice says it would make it easier and faster to destroy the prescription pills, for departments like North Myrtle Beach Police.
“It would help us tremendously in efficiency,” says Justin Eaker, a North Myrtle Beach Training Officer, “being able to handle these items quickly, or quicker, and still safely. We’ve been doing it safely thus far, easily, but at the same time, being quick, being efficient, and making sure we do this in a way that is still comfortable for all parties involved. I think it’s a positive.”
While the bill cannot solve the opioid epidemic alone, Rep. Rice says it would be a big help for law enforcement.
“So that they’re encouraged to do these take back programs,” says Rep. Rice. “We’ll be eliminating just one more path, which is a fairly common path to opioid addiction, and that is grabbing someone’s expired prescription out of their medicine cabinet.”
The bill is currently being referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.