Wasting Controlled Substances

VTH Policy #Pharm629

Implementation Date: 10/2021

Date of Last Revision: 3/21/2023

Next Review Due: 3/20/2025


Reviewed by VTH Administrative Team: 10/2021

Reviewed by VTH Board: N/A


Reviewed by Legal Counsel: N/A

Reviewed by Biosecurity Subcommittee: N/A

Subject to modification by the VTH Director without approval.


This policy describes the process to be followed when discarding controlled substances. This policy covers all controlled substances to be wasted at VTH or VMSC. All unused and expired controlled substances must be discarded and documented properly. 


  • Dispensary staff will monitor inventory of controlled substances and track expiration dates. 
  • Staff will provide waste bins at the Dispensary and locked drop boxes by each VTH Cubex for VTH staff to place medications to be disposed of. Wasted controlled substances from Cubex machines must be logged in Cubex prior to dropping in a waste bin. Medications must be wasted at the Cubex where they were obtained from.
  • Cubex machines will be routinely checked for expired drugs and unusable partial remaining injection vials. 
  • VMSC staff will log waste in Cubex and discard drugs in the RX Destroyer system. 
  • Medications wasted in the VMSC or Medication Dispensary Cubex machines will require a witness. Medications wasted at other Cubex machines will not require a witness because syringes are checked against the log by Dispensary staff prior to disposal.

Procedure (if applicable)

  1. When a controlled substance is disposed of in the Dispensary, staff will document waste in the Controlled Substance Waste Log binder if it was not able to be logged as waste in a Cubex machine. The waste log consists of documenting the Date, Patient medical record or Prescription #, the drug and strength, quantity discarded, pharmacist initials and witness initials. When discarding drugs for unknown patient/prescription #, staff will document “UNKNOWN” and fill out as much known information as possible. 

  2. Drugs will be discarded via the RX Destroyer. The RX Destroyer allows for destruction of both solid and liquid waste. Once RX Destroyer systems are full, they can be disposed of in the drug disposal bins, and DRS (Division of Research Safety) will collect bins once full. 

  3. Controlled substances that have not been dispensed for immediate administration, such as whole and intact vials of an injection, that needs to be discarded will documented by DEA Form 41. 

  4. When a controlled substance is obtained from the Cubex machine, it must be logged as drug waste under the same patient, from the same Cubex machine it was obtained from. The syringe/ vial/ tablet/ patch must have patient info and drug name attached. If it is completely empty, a patient sticker is not needed. When logging the waste, there will be an option to select the reason for discard and a comment area for additional explanations or dilution strengths. These can be entered in for dispensary staff to see to avoid any confusion or missing information. 

  5. Logged Cubex waste items will be placed in the waste box, and dispensary staff will collect all drug waste each morning M-F. Please refer to Wasting Drugs FAQ document located by each waste drop box for further instructions. 

  6. When a controlled substance is disposed of at VMSC, staff will log waste in the Cubex with a witness and discard via the RX Destroyer located in the VMSC treatment room. Dispensary staff will replace the RX Destroyer once it is full. Empty controlled substances vials should be left in the Cubex for dispensary staff to collect. 

Definitions (if applicable)

Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH): The collective clinical services of the Large Animal Clinic, Midwest Equine, the Small Animal Clinic, and the Veterinary Medicine South Clinic.


Keywords:Pharmacy, Medication Dispensary, controlled substance, waste, discard, destroy, bin, Rx Destroyer, lock box, monitor, track, inventory, disposal, Cubex, DRS, sharps, DEA, Form 41   Doc ID:126785
Owner:Jenny C.Group:University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
Created:2023-03-21 15:30 CDTUpdated:2023-03-21 15:35 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
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