Standards Q&A: Acceptable Ways to Dispose of Controlled Medications Dropped on the Floor - National Commission on Correctional Health Care
Q and A 680x510 1Aug 21, 2023

Standards Q&A: Acceptable Ways to Dispose of Controlled Medications Dropped on the Floor

By Wendy Habert, MBA, CCHP

Q: What are all the acceptable ways for destruction of a controlled medication dose that is dropped on the floor?

A: The event should be logged in the applicable controlled substance inventory tracking record and witnessed by two people, with the dropped medication discarded in a biohazardous sharps bin or liquid destroying agent. Each facility should have applicable written policies and procedures for destruction of medications and controlled substances. Generally, medications are discarded in biohazardous sharps containers or in containers with a medication destruction agent (for example, the “Rx Destroyer”) that are then properly discarded once filled. Controlled substances that are wasted should abide by the facility’s applicable protocols, which generally require the same disposal process, as well as signature of two individuals witnessing the event. If the practice of medication destruction and accountability of controlled substances inventory tracking does not align with safe practices, the process utilized and/or witnessed by surveyors in the facility may be considered noncompliant under Standard D-01 Pharmaceutical Operations’ disposal and/or control and accountability compliance indicators.

Wendy Habert, MBA, CCHP, is NCCHC’s accreditation director for health services. Send your NCCHC standards-related questions to [email protected].

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