Controlled Substance Disposal

Any person or business registered to handle controlled substances in Iowa shall dispose of such drugs as follows:

  1. The responsible person shall contact and utilize the services of a DEA-registered and Iowa-licensed disposal firm (reverse distributor) OR
  2. The responsible person may contact the assigned compliance officer for their county for assistance or direction regarding the disposal of the drugs.

Disposal of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous pharmaceutical waste:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified the following controlled substances to be hazardous pharmaceutical waste:

  • Chloral hydrate
  • Diazepam gel / injectable
  • Fentanyl spray
  • Phenobarbital
  • Testosterone gel / injectable

In order to be exempt from the EPA regulations for disposal of these substances, the waste must be disposed of in a manner that is publicly deemed in writing as acceptable by DEA or by incineration. To date, DEA has not publicly deemed in writing that any particular method of disposal meets its non-retrievable standard; as such, this hazardous pharmaceutical waste must be disposed of via incineration.

Disposal of controlled substances from long-term care facility patients:

Controlled substances dispensed to a resident in a long-term care facility and subsequently requiring destruction due to discontinuance of the medication, death of the resident, or other reasons necessitating destruction shall be destroyed by one of the following methods:

  1. In facilities staffed by one or more persons licensed to administer medications, controlled substances may be destroyed by a licensed healthcare professional (pharmacist, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse) in witness of one other responsible adult.  The professional destroying or otherwise disposing of the medication shall prepare and maintain a readily retrievable record of the destruction or other disposition which shall be clearly marked to indicate the destruction or other disposition of resident medications.  The record shall include, at a minimum, the following:
    • Resident's name;
    • The name, strength, and dosage form of the substance;
    • The quantity destroyed or otherwise disposed;
    • The date the substance is destroyed or disposed;
    • The signature or uniquely-identifying initials or other unique identification of the professional and the witness.
  2. Via a DEA-compliant collection receptacle for controlled substances located within the facility. A pharmacy which has modified its registration with DEA to be an authorized collector may install and manage a collection receptacle at a LTCF, pursuant to federal regulations.

Printed from the Iowa Board of Pharmacy website on September 17, 2021 at 11:13am.