Safe Disposal of Medications

After considerable research, PRI has concluded that the most effective method for the safe disposal of opioids and other medicines is technology developed by Verde Environmental Technologies, Inc., maker of the Deterra® Drug Deactivation and Disposal System, an at-home drug deactivation and disposal pouch or container. Deterra has demonstrated exceptional potential for mitigating the risks posed by diversion of prescription drugs from the medicine cabinet for recreational or medically inappropriate use as well as environmentally unsafe disposal practices.

Deterra drug disposal programmatic and legislative campaigns are intended to significantly increase safe deactivation and disposal of unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs, especially but not exclusively those with a higher risk of misuse and addiction, by making the dispensing of at-home deactivation and disposal options an integral part of the prescription process. Deterra has been proven as an evidence-based solution shown to increase proper drug disposal compliance resulting in millions of pills safely disposed, with fewer pills at risk of diversion, which means fewer instances of substance misuse, overdose, and death.

Here is how Deterra safely and simply destroys and deactivates leftover drugs from the medicine cabinet:

Download Deterra’s Grant Guide

Prevention resources like Deterra are an eligible expense for many grant opportunities. To help you navigate the world of grant opportunities, Deterra has put together a free grant guide with practical tips on how to secure funds for evidence-based tools like Deterra.

In this guide you will find:

  • Examples and evidence to support your grant application, including commonly required information as well as sample language.
  • Links to potential sources of public and private funding.
  • Case studies show how other organizations like yours have used grants to support the distribution of Deterra.

Additional funding is released throughout the year, so it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for funding announcements. Application criteria, deadlines and requirements are frequently updated, so check with your local authorities about available grants in your jurisdiction.

How to Purchase Deterra and Fund a Drug Disposal Campaign in Your Community

Deterra is easy to purchase in case quantities. If you’re a business, healthcare or government professional looking to order Deterra Pouches in case quantity, Deterra offers an easy way to order [simply complete the information form below to begin the process].

Advocate for Safe Drug Disposal Policies

State Legislative and Policy Strategies

Policy options: Several states are leading efforts to pursue legislative action, pilot programs, or related co-dispensing proposals to prevent substance misuse and overdose deaths. Below are a few examples of legislative and policy activities states are pursuing that can be replicated across the country:

  • New York: In the state of New York, state Senator Timothy Kennedy (D-63) introduced a bill (S. 7605), that would require county health departments to provide personal use pharmaceutical disposal systems, such as Deterra, to pharmacies to be dispensed with an opioid prescription at no cost, to prevent diversion and misuse. The bill has garnered support and has been voted out of committee.
  • Florida: In the state of Florida, bills were introduced in both legislative chambers (HB 843/SB 1136) that would require the Department of Health, in coordination with the Board of Pharmacy, to establish and administer an At-home Drug Deactivation and Disposal System Program. The program would require pharmacies to co-dispense a drug deactivation and disposal system with opioid prescriptions and would require the DOH to develop educational materials and plan for the distribution of the disposal system. Neither bill was voted out of committee; however, the legislation can be replicated for a willing legislature.

Programmatic Options

Several states are pursuing federal grant or opioid settlement funding to distribute or co-dispense through larger practices and integrated systems, such as:

  • Ohio: In Summit County, OH, the Summit County Community Partnership (SCCP) created the Deterra Project to distribute over 140,000 Deterra Drug Deactivation and Disposal System Pouches over a four-year period with over 90 distribution partners at over 175 distribution sites. The successful project destroyed up to 5.5 million pills in circulation, and survey data shows 28% of people used their pouches to dispose of their unused opioid prescriptions. The program had a $7.6 million societal benefit in preventing substance misuse.
  • New York: In summer 2022, the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) and the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) purchased 100,000 Deterra Pouches for aging services providers for distribution and delivery to older adults. The effort aims to prevent adverse drug events, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cause 1.3 million emergency department visits and 350,000 hospitalizations each year.
  • Minnesota: In Minnesota, Twin Cities Orthopedics sought to reduce patient opioid reliance and improve safe medication behaviors when they began tracking and surveying 3,000 patients and their disposal habits in spring 2017. Patients were provided Deterra Pouches and instructions for the safe disposal of leftover pills. By incorporating Deterra into their prescribing protocols and inclusion of drug deactivation and disposal resources, patients reported increased proper disposal behavior and overall higher satisfaction levels.

You can push for safe disposal policies in your community! Reach out to your elected officials and let them know about the benefits of incorporating Deterra into outreach and education programs as a safe at home deactivation and disposal method.

Federal Legislative and Policy Strategies

In 2009, in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) developed Federal guidelines for proper disposal of prescription drugs that recommend mixing prescription drugs with undesirable substances such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter and sealing it in a bag or container and placing in the trash, which does not render drugs irretrievable or inactive. This antiquated guidance does not consider new technologies–such as Deterra–that not only deactivate drugs but also prevent drugs from contaminating landfills and water systems. In 2018 FDA updated guidance to include options such as Deterra stating, “other technologies which provide additional options for disposing of medicines have been developed,” but guidance does not state what those options are, how to use them, or how to procure them.

The Federal government’s current drug disposal policy is no longer the safest method of drug disposal. We urge FDA and ONDCP to reconsider their safe drug disposal guidance to include safe at-home drug deactivation and disposal systems as the primary method of disposal and shift its policy of mixing with kitty litter and coffee grounds as a secondary method if a drug deactivation and disposal system is not available.

Send a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf and a letter to ONDCP Commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta urging their agencies to revise their antiquated drug disposal guidance to include at-home drug deactivation and disposal systems.

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