DEA Proposes Rules that Help Protect our Waters

Do you ever wish that disposal of expired or unwanted medications that are also controlled substances was easier for your practice or your clients?  Have you ever treated someone’s pet that had ingested a controlled substances which had been improperly disposed of by the pet’s owner?  Does the thought of flushing or pouring such medications down the drain and thereby contaminating our nation’s waters make you cringe?  If you answered yes to any of these, you may be interested in the DEA’s recently published notice of proposed rulemaking, Disposal of Controlled Substances, on which the DEA is accepting public comments through February 19th.

The DEA is proposing to expand the options by which people may properly and securely dispose of controlled substances to include more environmentally friendly means.  If approved and then once enacted, potentially fewer controlled substances will be flushed or poured down drains.

Increasing the disposal options may also help decrease the opportunities for children and pets to ingest controlled substances.  How?  If people could dispose of the medications more readily, then they might be less likely to have the substances where curious children or pets could get into them.  The AVMA’s page, 10 “Poison Pills” for Pets, discusses some of the most common human medications about which calls have been made to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center because pets have ingested them.  Some on the list are controlled substances.

In addition to safer water and household pets, what does this mean to the veterinary community?   AVMA entities composed of subject matter experts are reviewing this item.  Once an official response has been formulated by the AVMA, it will be posted on the AVMA’s  Federal Regulatory Activities webpage, which includes previous, related comments such as:

Do you have an opinion on this that you wish to share with the AVMA or the DEA?

  • As part of the general public, you can submit comments directly to the DEA on or before February 19, 2013, by following the instructions in the Federal Register Notice.
  • As an AVMA member, you can share your opinion with the Association by commenting on this post before February 11, 2013.

To find out more about pharmaceutical disposal, check out the AVMA’s webpages, and Disposal of Pharmaceuticals, as well as the AVMA’s brochure, “Prescription for Safety: How to Dispose of Unwanted Medicine.”

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