How To Dispose of Fentanyl Patches

January 19, 2023 | Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

What is Fentanyl?

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, meaning a substance that is synthesized in a laboratory and acts the same as a natural opioid in the brain to produce pain relief effects. There are two types of fentanyl: pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain while Illegally manufactured fentanyl is sold for its ability to produce pain relief effects.

Fentanyl patches are pharmaceutical fentanyl, put on the skin to relieve severe pain in people who are expected to need pain medication around the clock for a long time and who cannot be treated with other medications.

Can Fentanyl be prescribed?

Pharmaceutical fentanyl is prescribed by doctors for pain management and treatment. It can also be used for those with chronic pain, terminally ill or those that are physically intolerant to other opioids. Fentanyl is a Schedule II narcotic under the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970, meaning it has a high potential for severe physical or psychological dependence.

Are Fentanyl Patches Illegal?

Fentanyl is legally manufactured and distributed in the United States. Due to its powerful opioid properties, Fentanyl is diverted for abuse, so Fentanyl is illegal if it’s used by an individual that it was not prescribed to by a licensed doctor.

Do Fentanyl patches expire?

Yes, Fentanyl patches have an expiration date stated on the carton and pouch. Because Fentanyl Patches are a dangerous medication, if used after the expiration date, it can be harmful and may have serious side effects.

Accidental Exposure Risks

Even after a patch is used and removed, there is enough fentanyl left to cause illness, overdose, or death in babies, children, adults, and pets who are accidentally exposed to the medicine in the patch. Other household members may find lost, discarded, or improperly stored patches and ingest them or stick them on themselves or others. A fentanyl patch may still contain more than 50% of the labelled amount of fentanyl after 3 days of use – enough to cause serious harm or even death.

Can Fentanyl Patches go in Rx Destroyer products?

Yes. We recommend disposing of your used and unused Fentanyl Patches in Rx Destroyer All Purpose products. If you wish to use the Rx Destroyer, it would be advised that the patch be placed in the container with the chemical pad facing outward.

How To Properly Dispose of Fentanyl Patches

The FDA recommends folding the patch (sticky sides together) and flushing the patch to discard. While this method helps to prevent the patch from ending up in the wrong hands, it doesn’t account for the environmental harm from flushing the patch and having it end up in our waterways. According to the CDC, you should Prevent fentanyl entry into waterways, sewers, basements, or confined areas.

Since the Rx Destroyer can only deactivate fentanyl if it comes in contact with the chemical, it’s important that the patch not be folded sticky sides together. As a best practice, we recommend wearing gloves to when disposing of Fentanyl Patches. Rx Destroyer suggests folding the patch with its skin surface facing outward. For disposal, simply remove the packaging and seal to expose medicated surface and drop into your Rx Destroyer All-Purpose formula container. For more questions regarding the disposal of Fentanyl Patches, ask our pharmacist at


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