Pharmacists are some of the most trusted professionals in the United States. Community pharmacies play a crucial role in the nationwide effort to educate the public about the importance of safe prescription drug disposal and provide access to regulatory compliant disposal solutions. A conducted by Portland State University (PSU) found that an on-site disposal option at the pharmacy could help. “The presence of a dropbox at a pharmacy was associated with greater customer awareness of proper drug disposal and safer pharmacist recommendations to customers.”
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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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Last updated on May 2, 2022

Across the country, state governments, hospitals, and other authorized collectors are working with industry partners to raise awareness about safe prescription drug disposal and offer convenient disposal options. Sharps Compliance has been a leader in the effort to help communities offer more opportunities for safe and secure prescription drug disposal since 2014.
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Last updated on June 14, 2021

This is an update of the article originally published on October 9, 2014. Regulations change frequently. That’s why Sharps Compliance monitors updates and communicates any changes to its customers.

On September 9, 2014, the Drug Enforcement Agency published the Disposal of Controlled Substances Final Rule, which went into effect on October 9, 2014. This new rule allowed registered collectors to place DEA-compliant drug collection receptacles in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) for the collection and disposal of ultimate-user controlled substances (Schedules II-V).

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