Pharmacies To Start Disposing Of Unwanted Drugs

Sep 16, 2014

Pharmacies will have to register with the DEA and certify they can dilute the drugs so they're no longer usable.
Credit Almond Dhukka /

In three weeks, Hoosiers will be able to return unused prescription drugs to pharmacies year-round, instead of waiting for periodic "drug takeback days."   

President Obama signed a law four years ago repealing Drug Enforcement Administration requirements that only police or DEA agents could receive and dispose of leftover medication. But it‘s taken the DEA until now to finalize rules to let drugstores handle it themselves.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the agency wanted to be careful to write rules that would ensure those drugs don‘t end up in the wrong hands -- though Zoeller argues that‘s what‘s happening now.

Zoeller says the final rule will require pharmacies to place discarded drugs in special containers, with chemicals which dilute the drugs before final disposal.

Pharmacies will also have to register with the DEA, but Zoeller says one big chain has already expressed interest. He predicts others will recognize it as an additional way to get customers into their stores.

One last drug takeback day is planned for September 27 in 61 Indiana cities. Zoeller says authorities may still hold such events periodically to call attention to the need to dispose of drugs that aren‘t going to be used.