Why Do Dentists Need Drug Disposal?

February 14, 2023 | Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

When Are Pharmaceuticals Used in Oral Health Care?

Medications used by dentists are to help manage pain, prevent, or treat infections, numb certain areas of the mouth, and to help patients during dental procedures. A variety of medications can be used, including analgesics, antibiotics, sedatives, local anesthetics, and controlled substances.

Dentists and DEA Regulations

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a federal law enforcement agency that is responsible for enforcing controlled substances laws and regulations in the United States. Dentists, like other healthcare professionals, are regulated by the DEA when it comes to prescribing and disposing of pharmaceuticals. The DEA requires pharmaceutical waste to be deemed non-retrievable, and this is no exception for dentists. Dentists must register with the DEA to use controlled substances in their practices, controlled substances are substances that have a high potential for abuse and are regulated by the DEA to ensure proper handling and disposal. Failure to meet record keeping requirements, failure to properly store and prescribe medications, and failure to improperly dispose of medications are all ways dentists will not meet regulations.

Dentists and EPA Regulations

Although dental practices don’t appear to have similarities with construction companies, they are all regulated by the same federal and state laws that protect our environment. The EPA has banned the flushing and draining of all medications, the EPA gives direction for compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 40 CFR Part 441.

It can be difficult to interpret the same laws followed by large healthcare facilities, and many dentists agree that one of the most challenging aspects in their practice is keeping track of and maintaining compliance with all current regulations. The regulations relating to the proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste at the state and federal levels and dental practices are outlined by the EPA.

Storage of Controlled Substances

There must always be limited access to controlled substances for staff and patient safety. Leftover medications should be locked in well-constructed metal safes, cabinets, or an Rx Destroyer lockbox. Rx Destroyer lockboxes have medical grade steel that provides an enhanced level of security that removes potential for unauthorized removal and diversion. Dental practitioners with DEA registration numbers are fully responsible for the proper storage of controlled substances, and failure to properly store and keep track of medications can lead to drug diversion, which puts community members at risk for overdose and misuse. Managing medications properly is a critical component of a safe dental practice.

Disposal of Controlled Substances

There are a variety of reasons why dentists may need to dispose of drugs, from having a leftover surplus of a specific medication to managing expired products that are no longer safe or effective.

Dentists are the second-largest group of prescribers for opioids such as OxyContin, so they play a crucial role in ensuring drugs are disposed of correctly to prevent misuse. Disposing of unwanted medications is important for the protection of staff, patients, and the environment. Failure to properly dispose of unwanted drugs could result in DEA fines, or serious consequences to the environment, such as drugs ending up in our waterways.

Rx Destroyer In Dental Practices

It’s no secret that dentists have a variety of pharmaceuticals in their office. But how are these drugs stored? And what happens when these drugs expire or are no longer needed? That’s where Rx Destroyer comes in. Our drug disposal containers are available in a variety of sizes to meet the needs of any dental practice and are safe and simple to use. The formula in our containers begins to work quickly to neutralize most medications used by an average dental office. As medications are dispersed in the activated carbon slurry, diversion is prevented, and potential environmental harm is reduced.

With regard to pharmaceutical waste disposal and other regulated activities associated with pharmaceuticals, always follow applicable federal, state, local, and tribal laws/regulations.