Last updated on October 13, 2021

In the United States, enforcing laws and regulations involves a balancing act between the federal government and individual state governments. When it comes to hazardous waste management, states can impose standards stricter than the federal governments. As a result, certain materials not regulated as solid or hazardous waste under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) may  be regulated materials/wastes under a specific state’s program.
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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.
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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.

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