MPA Offers Recommendations to DEA on Proper Disposal of Unused Controlled Substances

Jefferson City, Mo. (Feb. 22, 2013) – The Missouri Pharmacy Association (MPA) has submitted comments to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) supporting the proposed rule for the disposal of unused or expired controlled substances.

The goal of this addition to the existing Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 (Disposal Act) is to set parameters that will encourage a variety of methods for collecting and destroying controlled substances in a secure, convenient and responsible manner. Prior to the Disposal Act, individuals with unused or expired controlled substances were only permitted to dispose of such substances themselves, for example by flushing or surrendering them to law enforcement or the DEA.

“DEA designates certain days throughout the year as drug take back days and these are the only days in which controlled substances can safely be collected and disposed,” said MPA Director Ron Fitzwater. “Twenty-two Missouri pharmacies and some local law enforcement agencies have established year-round disposal programs, but they are legally prohibited from taking in controlled substances.”

MPA’s submitted comments to the DEA seek to assist in improving the proposed guidelines, the comments include:

–       Addition of safety measures to the proposed disposal locations. This includes increasing federal penalties for individuals found guilty of offenses related to pharmacy acts of crime;

–       Clarification and expansion of the terms allowing disposal of controlled substances; and

–       For the DEA to reconsider proposed requirements for collection receptacles and pharmacy employees that are impractical and may negatively impact pharmacy workflow.

The take back programs, both the local collection and designated drug take back days, have proven successful. It is important to continue to expand these efforts and allow for simplified processes to dispose of controlled substances. Consumers can find the nearest pharmacy allowed to collect non-controlled substance medications at


The Missouri Pharmacy Association,, promotes leadership, sharing, learning, and policy exchange among pharmacy leaders in the State of Missouri and provides education and advocacy to support pharmacists, patients, and communities working together to improve public health.  MPA was founded in 1859.

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