How Do Police Dispose of Illegal Drugs?


Television crime dramas portray the regular planning and execution of drug busts by law enforcement, but when drugs are seized in real life what happens to all of this contraband? The circumstances surrounding the seizure such as the type and amount of drugs as well as state and federal laws govern the steps that are required next. Law enforcement agencies typically must store confiscated drugs in a secure warehouse or ship them to a crime lab where they will be tested, recorded, organized, and stored pending an upcoming trial.

Different law enforcement agencies may have different procedures for storing small amounts of drugs versus larger amounts which could be taken to a federal or state vault for secure storage. Drug seizure cases involving trafficking or manufacturing can take months or years to move through the court system, requiring the drug evidence to be kept typically until the opportunity for appeal is exhausted. After this, it is likely that most storage drugs will need to be destroyed.

Proper Drug Destruction

No matter the circumstances involving the seizure of drugs or pharmaceuticals, whether planned by law enforcement agencies or in the case of other circumstances like when seized in correctional facilities, property destruction of drugs is critical to prevent environmental contamination and drug diversion. Some drugs may be destroyed through government approved incineration facilities, or DEA labs located throughout the country. These burns must be controlled to prevent residue and fumes being released into the community. Some smaller law enforcement departments may not have access to high temperature incinerators used by medical waste facilities and often seek appropriate drug disposal solutions.

Prescription medications such as sedatives, stimulants and opioids cause a serious risk of drug diversion without proper and prompt destruction. According to a study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse in 2017, nearly 18 million people misused or abused prescription medications during the prior year.  Drug diversion is a significant factor contributing to the opioid epidemic in the United States.

Drug Disposal Solutions

Rx Destroyer offers proper drug disposal solutions to law enforcement agencies and correctional facilities with a safe, convenient, and compliant drug disposal method.  Rx Destroyer is available in several different sizes ranging from 4 ounces to 30 gallon drums to accommodate nearly any facility.  Rx Destroyer  begins dissolving medications on contact. As medications are dispersed in the activated carbon slurry, diversion is discouraged and potential environmental harm is reduced,.