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NACWA Files Comments Supporting Mail-Back Envelopes with Opioid Prescriptions

Jun 23, 2022

NACWA submitted comments on June 21 supporting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) action to require that mail-back envelopes be dispensed with opioid pain medications.  The envelopes would provide patients a safe, convenient method for disposing of unused medications.

The FDA published a request for comments in the April 21 Federal Register, asking for input on a modification to the Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy to require the mail-back envelopes.  FDA stated that the requirement could “reduce the amount of unused opioid analgesics in patients’ homes, thereby reducing opportunities for nonmedical use, accidental exposure, and overdose, and possibly reducing the development of new opioid addiction.”

NACWA has communicated with the FDA, EPA, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the past on the need for practical drug disposal options to keep unused medications from being flushed into the sewer system.  NACWA supports FDA action to require mail-back envelopes for opioids, since they have been used effectively in the past and result in destruction of the pharmaceuticals through incineration. 

NACWA does not support any disposal methods that result in medications being taken to landfills, since pharmaceuticals have been found in landfill leachate that is sent to wastewater treatment plants. 

NACWA will follow the FDA’s actions related to mail-back envelopes and other drug disposal issues.  Please contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, with questions.  

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