FDA Considers New Way to Dispose of Opioids

FDA considers mail-back envelopes for opioid disposal

(RxWiki News) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering a new way for consumers to safely get rid of unused opioids.

This new approach would involve opioids being dispensed at the pharmacy with prepaid mail-back envelopes. Recipients would then mail any unused opioids back in the envelopes.

This method would offer patients a free disposal option that would be in addition to the current methods, which include the following:

  • Flushing
  • Commercially available in-home disposal products
  • Collection kiosks
  • Take-back events

With mail-back envelopes, there is no need to mix unused medications with water or chemicals at home. Plus, the medications participants send back to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) facilities would be destroyed in an incinerator. This means they never enter the water supply or landfills.

"The FDA is committed to addressing the opioid crisis on all fronts, including exploring new approaches that have the potential to decrease unnecessary exposure to opioids and prevent new cases of addiction," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf in a press release.

It is common for patients to have unused opioid analgesics after undergoing surgery. The leftover medication can lead to inappropriate use, accidental exposure and overdose, as well as increasing the potential for more opioid addiction cases.

Many people actually get their hands on opioids through friends or family who have opioids left over.

The agency said it believed that having the mail-back envelope sent home with each opioid prescription could reduce the amount of unused opioids in people's homes. As of publication time, the FDA was still considering this method and was accepting public comments on it.

Speak to your local pharmacist if you have any questions about how to safely dispose of medications.