DEA Proposed Rule Covers Disposal of Rx Drugs

More Americans abuse prescription drugs than use cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the agency.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has published proposed Disposal of Controlled Substances regulations that would implement the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010.

More than 6 million Americans abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which indicated more than 70 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them from friends or relatives. "Medicines that languish in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high -— more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined," according to DEA's news release.

The rule proposes requirements for securely disposing of controlled substance medications by both DEA registrants and what the Controlled Substances Act refers to as "ultimate users" of the medications (i.e., patients and animals). The proposed regulations would expand options to collect these medications from ultimate users so they include take-back events, mail-back programs, and collection boxes. The regulations would:

  • continue to allow law enforcement agencies voluntarily to conduct take-back events, administer mail-back programs, and maintain collection boxes
  • allow authorized manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, and retail pharmacies voluntarily to administer mail-back programs and maintain collection boxes
  • allow authorized retail pharmacies to voluntarily maintain collection boxes at long-term care facilities

The public has until Feb. 19 to comment and read the proposal at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-12-21/pdf/2012-30699.pdf.

DEA's sixth National Take Back Day is scheduled for April 27, 2013. Its five National Take Back Days to date have removed more than 2 million pounds of prescription drugs from circulation, according to the agency.

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