Safe Drug Disposal Under the “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act”

Written By: John Loxterman | SVP, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer

The recently passed federal opioid legislation includes a chapter called the “Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act.” The Act permits a hospice employee to take custody of controlled substances from a hospice patient for the purposes of disposal under certain conditions:

  • The disposal occurs on site
  • The hospice employee must be a physician, physician assistant, nurse or other licensed clinical professional employed by the hospice
  • The hospice employee must be trained by the hospice on the proper procedures for disposing of controlled substances

The hospice must have written policies and procedures for assisting in the disposal of controlled substances, and must provide a copy of the written policies and procedures to the patient when first prescribed a controlled substance. The hospice must document in the patient’s record that the hospice provided the policies and procedures and the disposal of the controlled substances.

The Act also states that the Attorney General may issue guidance to assist hospices in satisfying the disposal requirements.