Any drug classified as a controlled substance that remains after administration must be disposed of so that it meets Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements.  The DEA requires that these medications must be disposed of so that they are "unrecoverable" and the EPA does not allow these medications to go directly into the sanitary sewer system.

In order to comply with both federal agency requirements, VUMC uses these two products: the Cactus Smart Sink and Pharma Lock. 

  • The Pharma Lock is used to dispose of larger liquid volumes. These are located in Perioperative Services and in the Pharmacies. 
  • The Smart Sink is used to dispose of both liquid and solid wastes, including pills, capsules and patches.  These are located in all inpatient and outpatient clinical areas where controlled substances are administered.

Cactus Smart Sink
Cactus Smart Sink


Cactus Pharma Lock
Pharma Lock 


More About Hazardous Drugs at VUMC