Woman Emptying Pills into Her Hand

Personal Use

Destroying Unused Medications at Home Is Easy With Deterra

Destroy unused medications quickly and easily at home with Deterra Drug Deactivation and Disposal Pouches. Deterra Pouches are proven to destroy unwanted or expired medications safely and permanently, making them unavailable for misuse, abuse and accidental ingestion. Made from environmentally sound, non-toxic materials, Deterra’s plant-based pouches prevent harmful drugs from entering our landfills and water systems.

Two Deterra Pouches
American Kids abuse an Rx drug for the first time every day
0 %
of opioids prescribed remain unused and available for abuse
Americans die every day from drug overdoses
0  billion
opioid prescriptions dispensed from 2012 – 2018

Destroy Drugs at Home in 3 Easy Steps

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, shaking and throwing it away. It’s truly that simple.

Step 1 Icon

Place Medication in Pouch

Open pouch and place unused medications inside.

Step 2 Icon

Fill Halfway with Water

Fill halfway with warm water and wait 30 seconds. Foaming may occur.

Step 3 Icon

Seal, Shake & Dispose in Trash

Seal tightly, gently shake and dispose of in normal trash.

This was much easier than any other drug disposal system that I have ever used.
Environment Icon

Safe for Everyone. Safe for the Environment.

In addition to preventing substance misuse, proper drug disposal benefits our environment. Improperly disposed of medications are ending up in landfills and surface water where these still-potent drugs can harm the environment and contaminate our water supply. A study by the Puget Sound Mussel Monitoring Program found traces of oxycodone in the tissues of bay mussels; the researchers noted that finding pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs in area waters is not uncommon and could adversely impact other species as well.

Deterra is safer for the environment because our proprietary, organic activated carbon permanently deactivates drugs, preventing potentially harmful medications from contaminating landfills and water systems.¹

We need to take steps now to prevent prescription drugs from contaminating our natural resources. Deterra is a safe and simple way to help.

¹Based on the likelihood of extractable active medications available when used according to label instructions.

Deterra Pouch Products

Deterra Is Your At-Home Essential for Drug Disposal

Find the right Deterra Pouch for your disposal needs and clean out your medicine cabinet today.

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 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.

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.

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.