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The patented Deterra System deactivates prescription drugs, pills, patches, liquids, creams and films. Deterra renders them inert, unavailable for misuse and safe for the environment. In a simple 3-step process, a user deactivates the drugs by putting them in a Deterra pouch or container, adding water, sealing, shaking and throwing it away. It’s truly that simple.


Our products are now available to order case quantities online. Create a business account to see case quantity pricing for Deterra Pouches, containers and more.

Variety of Deterra Products
0 %
of opioids prescribed for surgical use remain unused and available for abuse¹
0 %
of post-surgical patients with leftover opioids properly dispose of them²
0 %
of Deterra recipients dispose of pills properly³
0 x
more likely to safely dispose of opioids when given Deterra⁴

¹ Brummett CM, Steiger R, Englesbe M, et al. Effect of an Activated Charcoal Bag on Disposal of Unused Opioids After an Outpatient Surgical Procedure: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Surg. 2019;154(6):558–561. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2019.0155
² Ibid. Assuming proper disposal excludes sinking and flushing.
³ Ibid.

Deterra is a trusted medication disposal solution

The Deterra Drug Deactivation System is the only answer for safe, permanent medication disposal and is trusted by numerous organizations dedicated to safe at-home and on-site disposal for unused medications.

Calculate the Cost Savings of Deterra

How much could you save by providing Deterra® Drug Deactivation and Disposal Pouches to your employees? Use our savings calculator, see an example model in How to Reduce the Cost of the Opioid Crisis with At-home Drug Disposal or contact us for a free custom report.


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As a healthcare organization, we are serious about preventing medication misuse and abuse, and stopping environmentally unsafe medication disposal practices.

Safe Medication Disposal for Your Needs

Learn more about how Deterra Drug Deactivation and Disposal System Pouches, Containers and Kits can meet the safe drug disposal needs of healthcare providers, pharmacies and health plans & pharmacy benefits managers.

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Deterra for Providers

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Deterra for Pharmacies

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Deterra for Health Plans & PBM’s

Deterra System Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Deterra Drug Deactivation System is the simplest and most effective way to dispose of medication at home or in a clinical setting to keep unwanted prescription and over the counter drugs out of the wrong hands and prevent environmental contamination. Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about Deterra products and at-home drug disposal.

How is Deterra different from its competitors?

Deterra is the only at-home drug disposal system that is scientifically proven to permanently deactivate and destroy drugs, rendering them unavailable for abuse and misuse.

  • Our technology is protected by 13 U.S. patents and 35 international patents and cannot be replicated by others.
  • Deterra contains enough activated carbon to permanently deactivate the amount of medication claimed on the label. Other carbon-based disposal products may not, leaving medications available for misuse and abuse.
  • We don’t just mask medications in a gel or liquid; our patented approach completely destroys pills, patches, liquids, creams and films.
  • Deterra Pouches contain a smaller percentage of plastic when disposed of than competitor products. 1


1 Compared to Deterra products, competitor products contain a higher percentage of plastic when disposed of: DisposeRx® 59%; NarcX® 78%; Rx Destroyer™ 68%; Drug Buster® 67%

How does the Deterra Drug Deactivation System work?

Each patented Deterra Pouch contains a water-soluble inner pod containing proprietary activated carbon. To dispose of prescription or over the counter medications, a user places the drugs in the pouch and adds water, which dissolves the inner pod and releases the activated carbon. The carbon binds to the active ingredients in the medications. Once deactivated, the drugs are permanently and irreversibly destroyed, unavailable for misuse and safe for disposal in the normal trash.

To learn more about the science behind Deterra, visit our Science and Research section. For how-to videos and instructions for how to use the Deterra Drug Deactivation System to dispose of medications, visit our Resources section.

What drugs will Deterra deactivate?

The Deterra® Drug Deactivation and Disposal System will deactivate organic medications including opioids, fentanyl, most illicit drugs and vape fluid.

However, Deterra will not adsorb biologics, such as vaccines and immunotherapeutics which are typically administered in a healthcare setting. Additionally, inorganic medications—such as antacids, lithium, and iron supplements—will not be adsorbed. Deterra will not deactivate leaf marijuana.

It is impossible to know all forms and potency of illicit drugs. Follow state and local guidelines on safe medication disposal where applicable.

If your medication has specific disposal instructions, please follow the directions as given. Consult authorities or your pharmacist for more specific questions.

Does Deterra come in multiple sizes?

Yes, Deterra is available in multiple sizes. Visit our products page or contact a Deterra representative at (612) 568-1128 to determine which size will best meet your needs.

How many drugs can Deterra containers and pouches deactivate at a time?

The recommended capacity varies by size and is listed on each Deterra pouch or container. Please always follow the directions on the back of the Deterra Drug Deactivation System.

How much does Deterra cost?

On a per-pill basis, Deterra is the least costly at-home, permanent deactivation option. Our Medium Pouch (MP) starts at $3.89 per unit when you buy direct; volume discounts are available on quantities of 100,000 or more. Please call us at (612) 568-1128 for a custom quote or request a quote online.

Have government agencies endorsed Deterra?

Deterra is officially endorsed by the DEA Educational Foundation and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) for unused drug deactivation and disposal.

Deterra is the only product that CADCA has endorsed in its 30-year history. Both CADCA and the DEA Educational Foundation cite Deterra’s strong scientific backing and proven effectiveness as reasons why Deterra products are trusted over other products on the market.

Updated FDA guidelines for drug disposal include at-home medication disposal products as a safe, convenient way to properly dispose of unused medicine.

How can I comply with local environmental regulations?

At-home drug disposal is generally unregulated by federal, state and local authorities. Local regulations may vary, please consult authorities or your pharmacist with specific questions. Deterra is not for use with drugs that are supplied with specific disposal instructions. Different laws may apply to healthcare or other regulated facilities.

Why is Deterra better for the environment? Aren’t we just adding another plastic bag to landfills?

Deterra is environmentally sound through the entire product life cycle. From using 100% wind-generated power in production of the plant-based pouches to the non-toxic organic ingredients to its innovative pouch design, the product:

  • Provides a convenient and immediate alternative to flushing or discarding medications and prevents still-potent drugs from contaminating our water supply and landfills through activated carbon adsorption.
  • Has a smaller carbon footprint due to its plant-based packaging. The packaging is USDA Certified, 50% or more bio-based, and has received the I’m green™ plastic certification.
  • Deterra Pouches are manufactured in a factory built to LEED® Silver sustainable building guidelines on equipment powered by 100% wind-generated electrical energy and are printed using an Expanded Color Gamut Process to reduce ink consumption and waste.
  • Deterra 1.0 Containers are comprised of 25% Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) material.

To help educate users on the importance of proper drug disposal for the environment and how to use the Deterra® Drug Deactivation System, we offer free educational materials for consumers and dispensers. See resources.

If I work in a healthcare facility with a DEA registration, does using Deterra to dispose of controlled substances ensure compliance with my registration?

According to the DEA, any destruction method applied to a controlled substance must render it “non-retrievable” and subsequently unavailable, unusable, and no longer available for diversion for all practical purposes. Testing results have shown Deterra renders drugs non-retrievable for all practical purposes. Ultimately, it is up to the individual waste generator to ensure that they comply with all local, state and federal regulations.

Can’t I just flush or “sink” leftover medications?

Generally, most medications should not be flushed. Water treatment facilities struggle to filter out all pharmaceutical drugs from the water. As of 2014, there were over 1,500 published reports of the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in sewage, surface waters, ground waters, and elsewhere. One study found 47 different pharmaceutical drugs in source water samples and 37 different drugs in water after moving through water treatment plants across the U.S. Because of these findings, most federal, state and local authorities are now recommending (and many requiring) that pharmaceuticals NOT be disposed of in the toilet or sink.

What about mixing unused medications with coffee grounds, cat litter, or sawdust? 

These common but ineffective methods of medication disposal harm the environment and maintain the integrity of the active drugs. Medications are not completely destroyed if you use these temporary methods – abuse can still occur. Cat litter, coffee grounds, and sawdust may make the drug undesirable but do not deactivate the drugs. Once in the landfill, these drugs may potentially leach into the ground and into the water. Third-party testing proves that the proprietary activated carbon in Deterra deactivates the drugs rendering them inert and safe for the environment.