Working to Combat the Opioid Crisis, Tester Urges FDA to Include Input from Rural Communities on Safer At-Home Disposal of Prescription Drugs

Senator leads letter prompting discussions with rural, Tribal communities to develop safe disposal policies for prescription opioids

As part of his continued effort to combat the opioid crisis in Montana’s rural communities, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is leading a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to consult with rural and Tribal communities to develop a strong policy for at-home disposal of prescription opioids. 

In April, the FDA issued a policy that provided prepaid mail-back envelope to return unused opioid pills. However, Tester notes in his letter that the inclusion of an at-home disposal option is critical for Montanans in rural and Tribal communities who do not have reliable access to the United States Postal Service.

“For our constituents, particularly the thousands who live in rural and Tribal communities, the ability to safely deactivate and dispose of drugs at home would be a strong tool in the fight against addiction,” wrote Tester in his letter with several colleagues. “Our constituents in rural areas do not always have regular mail access and any policy that focuses solely on mail-only disposal creates an undue burden for those individuals to safely remove opioids from their homes.”

In their letter, the Senators continued to highlight the effects this policy could have particularly on Tribal communities.

“Even more alarming is the impact this could have on Tribal communities. Access to mail through the USPS among Tribal communities is extremely limited; whether they are located on Tribal land or otherwise, it is almost non-existent in some areas.”

You can read the Senators’ letter HERE.