California bill targets opioid pilfering, abuse

California bill targets opioid pilfering, abuse

California State Sen. Thomas J. Umberg (D-Santa Ana) has introduced a measure designed to eliminate opioid pilfering and abuse.

Umberg said the California Safe Dispensing Act addresses pilfering, which officials describe as the act of sneaking a small number of pills hoping that it will go undetected and serves as the leading source of youth opioid abuse.

“As President Clinton’s Deputy Drug Czar, I am intimately familiar with the statistics, stories, and policy quandaries surrounding the nation’s opioid and drug epidemics,” Umberg said. “It’s time we do more to protect California families from this danger and hold opioid manufacturers accountable for their part in this crisis.”

The legislation would require a pharmacist who dispenses a controlled substance, as defined by Schedules II and IIN of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, to dispense it with a lockable vial.

In its present form, the bill would apply specifically to prescriptions of narcotic painkillers, including oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, morphine, and codeine.

“Making containers tamper-proof gives parents a new tool in protecting young people in their families,” said Pete Nielsen, chief executive officer of the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals. “Most parents don’t suspect that their children may be accessing dangerous pharmaceuticals in their own medicine cabinets. This bill will greatly reduce access to unused medication and can save California families from the tragedies of overdose we see in the treatment industry every day.”