HomeKnowledge CentreCorrect Disposal of Schedule 8 Drugs (S8 Drugs)

Correct Disposal of Schedule 8 Drugs (S8 Drugs)

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Yellow bin with sticker

In Australia, medications are segregated into different Schedules based on their potential for harm, abuse, and dependence. Strict regulations govern the disposal of Schedule 8 drugs to prevent misuse and protect the environment and public health. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in severe legal and environmental consequences.

As an experienced waste management company, you can rely on us to inform you of important industry updates and guidelines. In this blog, we’ll outline how to dispose of S8 drugs in VIC and QLD correctly and how we can help you achieve 100% compliance.

What are Schedule 8 drugs in Australia?

S8 drugs, also known as Controlled Drugs, are medications with a high potential for harm, abuse, and dependence. As a result, patients and healthcare professionals must follow stringent storage, consumption and disposal guidelines to ensure their safe use.

s8 Drugs

Some examples of S8 drugs in Australia include:

  • Opioid analgesics such as morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, and methadone
  • Two Benzodiazepines (alprazolam and temazepam)
  • Stimulants such as dexamphetamine and methylphenidate
  • Cannabinoids such as nabiximols (Sativex)
  • Ketamine (used as an anaesthetic and analgesic)
  • Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and its analogues
  • Anabolic steroids (sometimes used illegally to enhance athletic performance)

How do you correctly dispose of S8 drugs in QLD?

The Environmental Protection Regulation 2019 (QLD) refers to all medicines and pharmaceutical waste, including S8 drugs, as regulated or clinical waste.

S8 Drugs and their related waste must be destroyed until unidentifiable, disposed of in solid, yellow-coloured bins with an orange lid, and sent for high-temperature incineration.

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Household S8 Drug Disposal QLD & VIC

There is a safe and secure Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) program. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Check the expiry date of all medicines in your medicine cabinet and separate any unused or expired medicines from other household waste.
  2. Deliver the unwanted medicines to your nearest RUM collection point at your local pharmacy. You can find your nearest collection point by visiting https://findapharmacy.com.au/ or contacting your local pharmacy.
  3. Give them to the pharmacy staff and they will put them into the designated RUM collection bin.
  4. The collected medicines are then securely transported to a high-temperature incineration facility for safe disposal.

Regardless of location, you must never flush any unwanted medicines down the toilet or sink, as they can contribute to water pollution and harm the environment.

Commercial S8 Drug Disposal QLD

Large or commercial quantities produced by healthcare facilities are required to engage with an authorised clinical waste management company, like Ace Waste, where we can be organised to be manifested and then collected the waste for high-temperature incineration.

Our dedicated waste coordinators can perform an audit of your facility to identify where you can reduce waste production, cut business costs and improve your overall disposal process to align with state regulations. Plus, our innovative incineration facilities lead the way in sustainability, so you can rest assured you’re doing your part for the environment.

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How do you correctly dispose of S8 drugs in VIC?

The Environment Protection Authority regulates the storage, transport, treatment and disposal of clinical and related wastes in Victoria in conjunction with the Drugs and Poisons Unit of the Department of Health.

The EPA and Department of Health agree that due to the high risk of harm and diversion, S8 drugs must be destroyed to the point of no return via high-incineration.

Commercial S8 Drug Disposal VIC

Healthcare facilities, aged care homes, and general clinics in Victoria need to ensure that:

  1. The drugs and contaminated materials are rendered non-recoverable on-site.
  2. Engage with an approved and licensed Waste Management Provider.
  3. Discard them into an approved and clearly labelled secure pharmaceutical or clinical waste bin.
  4. Send the remnants to a licensed waste management company for incineration.

Organisations that elect to send their S8 drugs to a waste company without first denaturing or destroying them must appoint two authorised health practitioners to oversee their destruction.

“An authorised health practitioner may be any registered medical practitioner, pharmacist, dentist, veterinarian, nurse or midwife; however, cannot include the combination of two nurses or midwives where one of them is not a nurse practitioner or an authorised midwife”.

Sustainable & Safe Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

At Ace Waste, we specialise in clinical and pharmaceutical waste disposal. We have extensive knowledge of all waste streams and world-class incineration facilities to safely and sustainably destroy your pharmaceutical waste.


We can ensure streamlined, cost-effective management for healthcare clinics of all complexities and sizes with on-site waste coordinators, tracking systems, and EPA-approved disposal methods.

Gain peace of mind today – contact us to organise a free quote or enquire about our services.

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