Responding to concerns raised by the American Hospital Association and others, the Drug Enforcement Administration on Oct. 17 clarified requirements of its recent final regulation for disposal of controlled substances. In a letter to practitioners, DEA said that the regulation was intended to cover disposal of unwanted controlled substances from a provider’s inventory, not small amounts of unwanted controlled substances left over after treatment of a patient.
“[O]nce a controlled substance has been dispensed to a patient … the substance is no longer in the practitioner’s inventory,” DEA said. The American Hospital Association and eight other national hospital organizations Oct. 6 told the DEA that its regulation raised serious health and safety concerns for hospital staff and patients, and would be enormously costly and burdensome to implement.
The DEA says hospitals or practitioners who have further questions about the issue should contact their local DEA field offices or the DEA Office of Diversion Control, Liaison and Policy Section at (202) 307-7297.