DEA releases new rules that create secure prescription drug disposal options

Tuesday, October 07, 2014 08:50 AM
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The U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a final rule that authorizes the DEA to establish methods to transfer unused or unwanted pharmaceutical controlled substances to authorized collectors for the purpose of disposal. It also permits long-term-care facilities to do the same on behalf of residents or former residents of their facilities. The rule takes effect Oct. 9.

The DEA’s goal is to expand the options available to safely and securely dispose of potentially dangerous prescription medications on a routine basis.

  • The rule authorizes certain DEA registrants (manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, narcotic treatment programs, retail pharmacies, and hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy) to modify their registration with the DEA to become authorized collectors.
  • All collectors may operate a collection receptacle at their registered location, and collectors with an on-site means of destruction may operate a mail-back program.
  • Retail pharmacies and hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy may operate collection receptacles at long-term care facilities.
  • The public may find authorized collectors in their communities by calling the DEA Office of Diversion Control’s Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9539.
  • Law enforcement continues to have autonomy with respect to how they collect pharmaceutical controlled substances from ultimate users, including holding take-back events. Any person or entity—DEA registrant or non-registrant—may partner with law enforcement to conduct take-back events.
  • Patients also may continue to utilize the guidelines for the disposal of pharmaceutical controlled substances listed by the Food and Drug Administration on their website (click here).
  • Any method of disposal that was valid prior to these new regulations being implemented continues to be valid.

Prior to the passage of the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act, the Controlled Substances Act made no legal provisions for patients to rid themselves of unwanted pharmaceutical controlled substances except to give them to law enforcement. It banned pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and hospitals from accepting them. Most people flushed their unused drugs down the toilet, threw them in the trash, or kept them in the household medicine cabinet, which made them susceptible to accidental ingestion, theft, misuse, and abuse.

Nearly 110 Americans die every day from drug-related overdoses, and about half of those overdoses are related to opioids. More than two-thirds (70 percent) of people who misuse prescription painkillers for the first time report obtaining the drugs from friends or relatives, including from the home medicine cabinet.

Posted in: LiveWire | Initiatives | Prescription Drug Abuse | Patient Safety and Professional Accountability


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