What Does a Controlled Substance Mailback Program Look Like?

Written by Benjamin Mandel
May 20, 2024

Facilities handling DEA controlled drugs face many challenges when it comes to disposal. Traditional controlled substance disposal has always included strict storage and transportation requirements, which have always left the process difficult and costly. However, in recent years, other options have emerged with denaturing and mailback programs, such as Secure a Drug, which offers a convenient and low-cost alternative to traditional drug disposal methods.

Maybe you’ve been searching for a better option but haven’t found one yet. Or perhaps you’d like to understand the dramatic differences between this exciting new innovation and the older varieties of controlled substance disposal. Whatever your current knowledge of drug disposal, it’s certainly worth taking a detailed look at what a controlled substance mailback program looks like. Learn how to tell if a drug mailback program is the right solution for you and what types of benefits they offer over traditional methods.

What Is a Drug Mailback Program?

A drug mailback program is just like what it sounds like: a hassle-free program to ship drugs for proper disposal. Many people may not be aware of this, but due to recent changes in regulations, you can actually dispose of controlled substances through United Parcel Service, Inc., better known as UPS.

By using Secure a Drug, you can safely and legally dispose of controlled substances right from your healthcare facility just by shipping them in packaging provided by Secure a Drug. This does not require any special training, extended service contracts, or mandatory scheduled pick-ups. Instead, you just fill up the container at your own pace and ship it out through the mail whenever you are ready.

Secure a Drug meets the DEA’s non-retrievable drug standards for non-RCRA hazardous expired or unwanted pharmaceuticals as well as all federal standards for shipment. You can rest assured that when you use Secure a Drug, your facility can improve safety and convenience while helping to create a compliant drug disposal program.

What Are the Steps Involved in Mailing Back Controlled Substances?

Now that you know what a mailback controlled substance disposal program is, let’s take a look at how exactly it works. There are only a few key steps involved in using a drug mailback system like Secure a Drug, which is why it’s so convenient and user-friendly:


1. Receive Disposal Kit 

The first step to any mailback drug disposal program is to receive the initial shipment of your disposal kit. You can choose to receive your kit, including the size of the container you need, depending on your facility’s disposal needs. The containers are available in 2-liter, 4-liter, 9-liter, and 18-liter sizes. Once you choose your kit, it will be shipped in the mail for a seamless and convenient delivery, and all you have to do is wait for it to arrive.


2. Unbox Your Secure a Drug Container

Once your disposal kit arrives, you simply need to unbox it. Each Secure a Drug mailback kit comes with everything you need, including:

  • Secure a Drug controlled substance destruction container;
  • Prepaid return shipping label;
  • Return box and pre-cut shipping tape;
  • Liner and zip tie;
  • Easy-to-use instructions; and
  • Solidifier pouch.

3. Begin Disposing of Medications

Once unboxed, you simply and add water are ready to begin disposing of your medications. Secure a Drug makes the process easy. First, you remove the medications from their packaging, whether a bottle, foil, vial, or other packaging. Then, place them into the Secure a Drug container. Next, gently agitate the container to allow the formula to permanently denature the controlled substances. It is important to remember not to dispose of vials or ampoules in the container. These should be disposed of in a sharps container.

Your facility can keep using the same container until the fill line is reached or up until one-year. Additionally, because the the containers are leakproof, you don’t have to worry about the contents of the container spilling. It’s a convenient and economical method that also keeps everyone safe.


4. Once Contents Reach the Fill Line, Remove the Container

Once the contents have reached the fill line or one-year has passed, it is time to take them out of use. Simply close and lock the container for permanent disposal.


5. Send Back at Your Convenience

Now, you can simply follow the instructions to prepare the container for shipment using the provided prepaid shipping label, return box, and pre-cut shipping tape. Then, your controlled substances will be ready for shipment back to Secure a Drug via UPS, where it will be permanently disposed of.


Who Is Secure a Drug Right For?


Now that you know how a drug mailback program works, you might be wondering who this type of controlled substance disposal program is right for. The answer is that just about anyone can benefit from this simple, hassle-free method of disposal. However, smaller facilities such as local clinics, veterinary practices, and rural healthcare providers may benefit the most from this type of drug disposal.

This is both because of the limited quantities of controlled substances they generate as well as the ease with which this enables them to schedule disposal and transport. With Secure a Drug, there is no required timeline for shipments, and it is effortless to simply mail controlled substances for disposal.


Secure a Drug Makes Mailing Back Controlled Substances Easy as 1-2-3


Secure a Drug lets you collect, secure and dispose of controlled substances in a simple, easy-to-use format. It’s more economical than traditional full-service programs and allows facilities of any size to efficiently collect and dispose of controlled substances. 

Smaller or more rural practices can now easily deal with their controlled substance waste without costly service contracts or scheduled pick-ups. Staff will quickly understand how to use this mailback service so there’s no learning curve or need for training, saving you additional resources. Secure a Drug allows for easy, safe disposal on any timeline without extra costs or burdensome processes.

Ready to take the next step? Schedule a demo and see how easy Secure a Drug is for yourself.