Although several drug deactivation products are marketed for pharmaceutical waste disposal in home and clinical settings, none have been reviewed or approved by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Disposing of drugs in the trash (even after treatment with a drug decomposition product) may violate state and/or local regulations. Federal guidelines from the DEA, EPA, and FDA for consumer disposal of household medicines recommend take-back programs as the best disposal option.
On July 29, 2021, President Biden signed the Dispose Unused Medications and Prescription (DUMP) Opioids Act into law. Beginning in 2022, it will give community residents access to medication disposal collection receptacles, including Sharps Compliance’s MedSafe kiosks, located at certain VA medical centers. Instead of waiting for semi-annual Drug Take Back Day events, this additional disposal option will help unused/unwanted opioids and other harmful medications from being misused or diverted into the environment.
Used needles and other sharps can cause needlestick injuries and spread infections if they aren’t disposed of properly. As the opioid epidemic continues and the number of patients who self-inject medications increases, so does the need for secure disposal options in public spaces and for those who self-inject medications at home.
In 2019, an estimated 9.7 million people misused prescription painkillers, and 70.6 % of drug overdose deaths involved opioids. Not all of those deaths were the result of intentional misuse. Prescription opioids and opioid use disorder treatment medications kept in the home pose a danger to children and pets if they aren’t stored in secure containers and disposed of safely.