Posted on April 10, 2015

What Is The Disposal Act?

“The Disposal Act amended the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to give the DEA authority to promulgate new regulations, within the framework of the CSA, which will allow ultimate users to deliver unused pharmaceutical controlled substances to appropriate entities for disposal in a safe and effective manner consistent with effective controls against diversion. The goal of the Disposal Act is to encourage public and private entities to develop a variety of methods of collection and disposal in a secure, convenient, and responsible manner.” [1]

What Changed?

There were many changes made with the Disposal Act, but today we will go over the three main changes that apply to long term care facilities (LTCFs).

First, it is no longer necessary to have two employees of the pharmaceutical disposal company present when installing, removing, storing, and transferring inner liners. Instead, the DEA has given the authorized collector the option to designate one supervisor-level employer to assist in changing the collection liner.

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Second, you are now permitted to store the used inner liners for up to 3 business days before you must dispose of it. That being said, there are still regulations that need to be followed when storing the bags. According to the rules the liner must be sealed immediately after removing it from your pharmaceutical collection box, and you are only allowed to store the inner liner in a securely locked, substantially constructed cabinet or a securely locked room with controlled access.

While you are allowed to store your discarded RX bags for up to three days, it is still recommended that you have an authorized pharmaceutical disposal company regularly scheduled so you do not run into this problem.

The final change that pertains to LTCFs is you are now permitted to put controlled and non-controlled substances in the same pharmaceutical disposal container. LTCFs no longer need separate RX boxes for controlled/non-controlled medicine, complicated paperwork, and time consuming regulations. Just discard all of your medicine in the same container and have your disposal company come pick it up.

What does this mean for long term care facilities?

As you can see above, this new law benefits LCTFs in many ways. Not only will you save money by not needing different collection boxes for controlled and non-controlled, but you will save time as the new system is much more efficient and easy to use. Also, a LTCF may dispose of a current or former resident’s pharmaceutical controlled substances by depositing those substances into an authorized collection receptacle located at the facility.


Have you benefited from the Disposal Act? How? Let us know in the comments!