The long-awaited final rule governing the disposal of controlled substances was published by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Sept. 9. The rule is effective as of Oct. 9. The rule contains provisions specific to disposal of unused/unwanted controlled substances in “long-term care facilities” (LTCFs), which DEA defines to include nursing homes, “retirement care” facilities and other facilities “which provide extended health care to resident patients.” Accordingly, we construe the regulation to apply to both nursing homes and assisted living facilities based on our reading of the definitions.
With respect to long-term care facilities, the rule permits them to dispose of controlled substances on behalf of ultimate users who reside at the facility or who have resided at the facility. Regardless of whether a collector maintains a disposal receptacle at the facility, each long-term care facility must dispose of unused or unwanted controlled substances immediately but in no event later than 3 business days after such substances have been discontinued. If there is no disposal receptacle on the premises, the facility may use current means of disposal, so long as those means are in compliance with federal, state and local laws, including environmental laws.