The Virginia Senate passed legislation yesterday designed to make it easier for people to get drugs in containers without "safety" tops.

Supporters claimed that amendments to the measure offered by Sen. Harry Michael (D-Charlottesville) defeated the purpose of the legislation but said they didn't realize the effect of the changes until after they had been approved.

They decided to approve the House passed legislation anyway, in hopes that the amendments could be taken off in a conference committee composed of members of the two houses.

Sen. James Edmunds (D-Lunenburg) said a number of people resort to using their teeth, knives and other tools to get medicine out of so-called safety containers. He said one woman told the committee that considered the measure that she had to take her medicine container back to a pharmacial, who had to use tools to open it.

Sen. John C. Buchanan (D-Wise) the only physician in the Senate, said he thought the safety closures have not accomplished their original purpose of discourage children from trying to open pill bottles add adults from taking overdoses of medicine.

The bill would allow people to get medicine in nonsafety containers if they gave a pharmacist a writter request.