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Leftover prescription drugs fuel the U.S. opioid crisis at the local, state and national levels. Public data, including new government studies and reports in medical literature, shows the U.S. continues to be flooded with opioid prescriptions, with enough prescriptions written each year for half of all Americans to have one.

To help prevent opioid misuse, public health and local government officials can use opioid settlement funds to add proper at-home drug disposal with the Deterra® Drug Deactivation and Disposal System to community prevention efforts. Deterra is the safest, most effective choice to destroy and properly dispose of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications, including opioids, fentanyl, and most illicit drugs. Deterra has a proven community impact and complements other disposal methods to increase safe disposal behavior.

Deterra household mailing campaign

Household Mailing Campaign

A Household Mailing Campaign with the NEW Deterra Direct Mail Pouch is a cost-effective way to promote prevention.

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Free Custom Assessment

Get a free custom assessment to see the impact a Deterra Household Mailing Campaign can have in your area.

Materials for Public Use

Educational Materials

Help educate users on the importance of proper drug disposal with our free informational materials. 

Variety of Deterra Products

An Evidence-Based Prevention Solution

The patented Deterra System deactivates 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.

interested in a household mailing campaign?

Deterra is an eligible expense for opioid settlement funds, and our team can help you understand how to include a Deterra Household Mailing Campaign in your prevention plan. Schedule a call today to learn more.

Deterra household mailing campaign
0  billion
opioid prescriptions dispensed between 2012-2020
Americans die every day from drug overdoses
0 %
of those addicted to heroin reported they first used Rx opioid
Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021

Deterra is trusted by prevention experts & policy makers

Endorsed by Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and the DEA Educational Foundation, Deterra is the only answer for safe, permanent medication disposal and is trusted by numerous organizations dedicated to ending the opioid crisis. Our advisory council and board of directors include drug misuse prevention leaders who advocate for safe drug disposal nationwide.

Deterra Testimonials

[The Deterra Pouches] are something [patients] can use in the privacy of their homes to eliminate the opportunity take their prescription when it’s no longer needed.

Dr. Greg Colbath

Orthopedic Surgeon, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
We knew patients struggled with quick, easy solutions for drug disposal; Deterra was a perfect fit and continues to be a perfect fit.

Rachel Uzlik

Vice President of Clinical Services, Twin Cities Orthopedics
We need to continuously make sure that people don’t have access to opioids or other drugs that can be harmful, and we do this by teaching people to dispose of all medications properly.

Dr. Deni Carise

Chief Scientific Officer, Recovery Centers of America

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Protect your citizens from the threat of overdose and the misuse of prescription drugs by providing Deterra Drug Deactivation and Disposal Pouches in your community. It’s a simple, cost-effective way to save lives and prevent misuse.

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. If you’re interested in Deterra for yourself, you can view sizes and purchase online here. For case quantities, visit our business 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. Volume discounts are available on quantities of 100,000 or more. Contact us at (612) 568-1128 for a custom quote or get pricing 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.

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.

How does at-home disposal with Deterra compare with other disposal options like secure drop boxes or drug take back programs?

Not everyone has easy access to drug take-back sites. According to research from the American Academy of Family Physicians, those in rural areas had an 87% higher chance of receiving an opioid prescription compared to those in metropolitan areas but are located further away from take back locations. If there aren’t safe medication disposal sites near you, you can dispose of medication at home in a convenient and environmentally sound way with Deterra.


In addition, there is some debate about the effectiveness of drug take back programs to curb drug misuse. Research published in JAMA Surgery  found that less than 15% of patients given education on drop-off sites disposed of their drugs in that manner.


Deterra’s goal is to increase options for safe and effective drug disposal and reduce the number of unused medications in the world. Our product complements alternative disposal methods, like drop-off sites, community drug take-back programs or throwing medications in the trash by offering an at-home disposal option.

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.

More Deterra Resources

Use the resources below to learn more about how Deterra can help prevent medication misuse and overdose in your community.


Grant Guide

Get the Deterra Grant Guide to help you craft a winning grant application for at-home drug disposal.

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Find Funding

Browse our updated funding directory to find grant opportunities and funding options for Deterra.

Value Added Services

Create an educational prevention campaign with custom labels, postcards and more.

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Deterra News

Visit our newsroom for the latest news and insights on at-home drug deactivation and disposal.

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Case Studies

Learn how other organizations are implementing proper at-home drug disposal programs in their communities.

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Helpful Resources

Learn more about the Deterra System with how-to videos, educational materials and more.

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