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How to Become an Authorized Collector of Pharmaceuticals

The 2014 federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Rule allows retail pharmacies and other entities (a manufacturer, reverse distributor, distributor, narcotic treatment program, or hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy), authorized by the DEA, to collect pharmaceutical controlled substances from household consumers by becoming an authorized collector. An authorized collector voluntarily manages pharmaceutical mail-back programs or maintains collection receptacles.

In 2016, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that authorized collectors and law enforcement are allowed to collect pharmaceuticals, without approval from DEC, as long as they remain in compliance with the requirements of Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1300, 1301, 1304, 1305, 1307, and 1317. If the final disposal of pharmaceutical waste occurs in New York State, it must be destroyed in a municipal waste combustion facility or by another method approved by the DEC.

DEC strongly encourages pharmacies and other DEA registrants to become authorized collectors to allow for the increased safe disposal of controlled pharmaceuticals.

To become an authorized collector, DEA registrants must:

  • Modify their registrations online
  • Follow all DEA requirements under Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations

Commercial transporters of collected pharmaceuticals may be required to obtain a 6 NYCRR Part 364 Waste Transporter Permit if transport for the purpose of subsequent disposal occurs by vehicle. For questions or more information regarding the Part 364 Waste Transporter Permit program, please contact DEC's Division of Materials Management at (518) 402-8611.

Law Enforcement Agencies

The 2014 DEA Rule allows law enforcement to continue to conduct take-back events and maintain collection receptacles without becoming an authorized collector.

Law enforcement agencies that conduct take-back events and maintain collection receptacles must meet NYS Department of Health (DOH) requirements as set forth on the DOH Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement's (BNE) website.