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Pharmaceutical Controlled Substances: What You Need to Know About Disposal Options

Pill Bottles 2The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on September 8, 2014, released their final rule on Pharmaceutical Controlled Substances and what options there are now for disposal. This final rule, took effect October 9, 2014, has expanded the program to make the disposal of pharmaceutical controlled substances simpler and safer. Here’s what you should know about the ruling.

There Are Several Options For Disposal

Through this ruling on pharmaceutical controlled substances, there are several ways in which these controlled substances can be disposed of. Here are the options outlined in the rule.

  • Take-Back Events Coordinated and conducted by law enforcement, these days can be used within a community to give a drop off point for the public. These events will not be run consistently anymore, contact your local law enforcement for more information. 

  • Mail-Back Programs This program is administered by authorized manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, retail pharmacies, hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy, narcotic treatment centers, or law enforcement to collect and mail-back unused controlled substances.

  • Collection Receptacles (Becoming a “Collector”) This program can be operated by authorized manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, retail pharmacies, hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy, narcotic treatment centers, or by law enforcement. The DEA has authorized the groups to collect from the public in a specific receptacle, all unwanted controlled substances.

You Don’t Have to Offer a Collection Receptacle

All of these methods are voluntary and no one is required to start or maintain a disposal program. Why? The rule is intended to help guide and protect the environment and to limit illegal use/diversion of the controlled substances. Take back events and mail-back programs will still be available. Though collection receptacles are now authorized, they are not required.

You Might Not Be an Authorized Collector

Within this new rule, the DEA is authorizing applied registrants (manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, narcotic treatment programs, hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy, and retail pharmacies) to serve as “Authorized Collectors” with permission to conduct mail-back programs. Only specific collectors within the listed group will be allowed by the DEA to have collection locations. They will need to be registered with the DEA and change their existing registrations. This change is free and can be made online

There Are Specific Guideline for Your Collection Box

If you decide to become a “collector” you must make sure your receptacle meets all DEA standards. The receptacle must be located in an area that is secure and safe from unauthorized tampering. The outer container should be securely connected to a permanent structure. The container must have a small opening so substances can be placed in the container but not removed. The container must remain locked and labeled to accept only Schedule II-V controlled and non-controlled substances. The inner liner must be removable and sealed to not leak, break, tear or absorb anything it comes in contact.

This Regulation Will Help Save the Environment!

This regulation defines ‘non-retrievable’ and pharmaceutical wastage (partially used doses). It gives more leniency around collection and disposal options for the most heavy users. 

For a complete list of guidelines for your collection box and more information on this new ruling, you can view the entire text on the DEA website here. Download our guide on becoming a DEA Authorized Collector here.

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