The disposal of controlled substances or narcotics involves specific rules and regulations overseen by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). There are two categories that an individual/facility can be placed in when disposing of narcotics: federal DEA registrant or non-registrant.

Federal DEA Registrants

Federal DEA registrants are permitted to buy narcotics/controlled medications wholesale for distribution to your patients. If your practice or facility is a DEA permitted registrant the only legal way to dispose of expired or unwanted controlled medications is through a mail back service utilizing a DEA permitted destruction facility.

Hospitals and select facilities can use a reverse distributor to return their controlled medications and even get paid for them in many cases. This is great for them, but doesn’t provide a realistic solution for the rest of the DEA registrants. Most registrants do not generate enough controlled substance waste to necessitate using a reverse distributor or to get credit back from the manufacturer.  So what to do?

BioServ has the answer. As part of our Pharmgreen program, BioServ offers a simple narcotic mail-back program. We will provide your staff with the proper packaging materials, shipping labels, instructions and required documentation necessary for your waste destruction. Upon completion you will be provided with all DEA documentation and a certificate of recycling by our affiliate DEA permitted facility. Our program has only a few simple steps and ensures safe, legal destruction of your narcotic waste.


When narcotics are purchased by or prescribed to an individual (a patient), the individual falls into the category of a non-registrant. Facilities that would handle this type of non-regulated category would be nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospice, visiting nurses and private practices (e.g., an elderly patient passes away, leaving behind their prescriptions).

A non-registrant does not have to dispose of their narcotics through a reverse distributor. The drugs should first be destroyed and rendered unfit for redistribution and then placed in to a non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste receptacle provided by BioServ. (Examples of destruction are shredding, crushing, mixing with kitty liter or, in the case of a liquid medication, dispensing into an absorbent; or placing them in a locking sharps container.) The waste will then be transported to a medical waste incineration facility for destruction.

Non-registrant facilities should be diligent and prompt in destroying and disposing of narcotics. Facilities must notify BioServ when placing any destroyed narcotics in the non-hazardous waste receptacle so that we can ensure the proper procedure has been followed.

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BioServ has always been great at disposing of our medical waste.

Very knowledgeable and courteous staff.

They give us peace of mind knowing that they are here to support our center.

BioServ provides stellar, reliable customer service with straightforward pricing and no hidden fees!

We are celebrating year 5 and BioServ has been with us every year providing us with top notch reliable service and peace of mind!

BioServ has provided Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Waste Management services as well as OSHA education and training at five ASCs with which I have been affiliated. I would highly recommend working with them.

BioServ are there when you need them without all the costly fees like other companies. I would recommend them to any company that would use medical waste management

We switched to BioServ a year ago and what a difference, our bills went down and the service went up!

The BioServ team is a pleasure to work with – very responsive to all our needs, whether it pertains to a service request or a simple question about an item on our invoice.

It is great to know that the BioServ team is only a phone call away! We always get great pricing and exceptional service!

We value the diversity of services they offer and have utilized their support of biomedical waste, expired chemicals and most recently, their ShredSmart on-site document destruction services.

BioServ is very responsive to our needs, cost effective, efficient and cordial when coming into the facility, on the phone, or by email.

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