DEA to Hold Public Meeting on Controlled Substances Disposal Regulations

December 23, 2010

By John A. Gilbert & Karla L. Palmer

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced earlier this week that it is holding a public meeting to discuss with interested persons procedures for the surrender of unwanted controlled substances by ultimate users and long term care facilities.  The public input will assist the DEA in the development of regulations to implement the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which President Obama signed into law on October 12, 2010.  This Act will allow users to dispose of unwanted controlled substances by delivering them to an authorized entity, and will allow in certain instances long term care facilities to dispose of the unused controlled substances of their residents.  The notice further states that the DEA is currently drafting proposed regulations that will permit for the disposal of “unwanted controlled substances by those not registered with the DEA.”  

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 19th and Thursday, January 20, 2011, from 9:00 A.M. until 5:30 P.M. at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.  Check in for the meeting will begin at 8:00 A.M.  The meeting is open to all interested persons, including law enforcement, ultimate users (i.e., patients and members of their households), pharmacies, manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, or other third parties.  Those attending the meeting must register and provide attendee information via email ( to the Liaison and Policy Section, Office of Diversion Control,  no later than January 12, 2011.  The DEA advises that space is limited and thus attendees are encouraged to register early.  

DEA is permitting requests for limited oral presentations during the meeting; space and time permitting.  Those wishing to make an oral presentation should indicate in an email by January 7, 2011, to, containing a subject line “Disposal meeting: request to present.”  DEA will select speakers based on requests received, and will notify those selected prior to the meeting of approximate starting time, and amount of time available, for the such presentations.  More complete details about the registration, speaker and attendance procedures are set forth in the Federal Register notice announcing the meeting. 

In lieu of attending the open meeting, the DEA also invites interested persons to submit written comments concerning “the most safe and effective method of disposal of controlled substances consistent with the Controlled Substances Act and the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010.”  Comments should be postmarked or received electronically by January 12, 2011.  The DEA states that it is seeking comments and oral presentations to address the following “specific concerns”:  

  • The process of disposal of unwanted controlled substances could create new and unwanted avenues for diversion.  What is the safest manner, in your opinion, to dispose of unwanted controlled substances while preventing diversion?” 
  • Please explain why you believe the solution you propose would protect the public health and safety and would curtail diversion. 
  • Do you foresee any specific obstacles to the disposal of controlled substances in your community or geographical area? If so, what are they?
  • How is the disposal of controlled substances affected by State and local laws and regulations?

Although the meeting will not be webcast, the meeting transcript will be available at the DEA diversion website.