According to a 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 53% of people who misused opioids, got them from a family member or friend. Walmart has recently made an announcement that they will be providing FREE opioid disposal kits to patients who are prescribed Class II opioid prescriptions, as an effort to help this percentage from increasing.
According to Senator John Boozman of Arkansas, “About one-third of medications go unused. Too often, these dangerous narcotics remain unsecured where children, teens or visitors may have access.”
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So far, the opioid disposal kits will be prescribed once for people who receive an initial opioid prescription and will be given every six months for people who receive routine opioid prescriptions for chronic pain.
Opioid Disposal Kits – DisposeRx
For people who either don’t finish their medication or who do not want the rest of their pills, DisposeRx has created opioid disposal kits that safely treats unused pills, in the comfort of the person’s home.
Up to this point, peoples unused prescriptions often just sat on the shelf until they throw them away, and in worse cases, get taken by family members or friends.
The opioid disposal kits are packets that consist of a neutralizing powder that, when added to a pill bottle with the pills and combined with warm water, turns the pills into a biodegradable and essentially useless gel that can be safely thrown in the trash.
The other option was the bring the remaining pills to a prescription take-back location, for example, CVS pharmacies.
According to the executive vice president of Consumables and Health and Wellness at Walmart, Marybeth Hayes, “We have an important role to play. We hope this new initiative is one step forward in helping to curb opioid prescription abuse and misuse.”
Pharmacies at Walmart will be providing much more than just the opioid disposal kits, at all locations, nationwide.
Opioid Disposal Kits – Other Methods
After the announcement of the opioid epidemic as a National Health Emergency, local and state government agencies have been cracking down on safe prescribing techniques for medical providers. Walmart and Sam’s Club’s officials have been urging state lawmakers to enforce a 7 day supply limit for all initial opioid and pain prescriptions for people with chronic pain.
Another effort is enforcing all prescriptions for controlled substances be issued electronically, with clear and concise data regarding both the patient, their source of pain, how long the prescription will last, and the information of the medical provider.
Apart from that, Walmart and Sam’s Club’s started offering Naloxone at the pharmacies in states where it is legal to do so. In an effort to increase awareness and education about the dangers of prescription drugs and especially controlled substances, Walmart and Sam’s Clubs are currently funding multi-state programs that teach young American’s about the potential for addiction and the dangers of abusing prescription drugs.
First and foremost, the goal of this new program at Walmart aims to prevent any leftover prescription pills from falling into the wrong hands.
More often than not, people don’t take their leftover pills to a prescription take-back location, and with the rising amount of addiction and overdose rates in the United States, it is time for Americans to be more vigilant than ever with the safe handling and disposal of dangerous prescription pills.
The company has ensured that over 4,700 Walmart locations in the country will be taking part of this program. Not only that, but each location will also be offering counseling for those who are prescribed opioid medications for both safe use of opioids and on proper disposal of remaining pills using opioid disposal kits.
“The health and safety of our patients is a critical priority… while this issue requires many resources to solve, we are confident this unique, easy to use disposal solution, will make a meaningful impact on the lives of many,” said Hayes.
Not only will the stores be offering the packets to people with prescriptions through them, but they are also offering them for free for any existing customer, at any time.
Walmart is Stepping it Up
According to CNBC, this progressive step by Walmart occurred 9 months after the company was sued by the Cherokee Nation for allegedly “flooding” Native American areas with prescription painkillers.
Along with CVS Health and Walgreens, Walmart has been brought to court by a Cherokee tribe after more than 350 Cherokee deaths occurred between 2003 and 2014 from opioid-related deaths.
Walmart is not the only company that came under fire for record numbers of opioids, as many states have been joining together to sue big pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Endo, Teva, and Allergan. So far, there has been a great amount of red tape surrounding this court cases, and it seems that the umbrella that big pharma is protected under is pretty rock solid.
In addition, all of the big pharma companies have denied any allegations that they are purposely flooding certain areas with opioid pills and that they are not responsible for the deaths that follow.
That being said, out of all of the companies that would be taking steps to protect their consumers, it comes as a surprise that Walmart would be the one to do so. In their world of underpaying employees, providing unhealthy food choices, and putting local family run stores out of business, many people saw Walmart as a company that had little heart.
However, Walmart has surprised the nation with the announcement of their free opioid disposal kits. Hopefully, other pharmacies and medical providers will take note.
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