Walmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gel

Walmart unveiled a pharmacy initiative January 17 to supply customers with a product to facilitate the safe disposal of excess opioids.

The company said on Wednesday that the solution is called "DisposeRx" and consists of a packet with ingredients that, when combined with warm water and emptied into a pill bottle, neutralize leftover medications so they can be disposed of without worry. If the patient has leftover medication, they just pour the powder in the bottle with the meds, add warm water and shake. The company will be giving them to customers that fill Class II opioid prescriptions and is also offering counseling on the proper way to use the drugs.

Walmart says its pharmacy customers can request a free packet at any time.

Walmart says it's the first national pharmacy to offer the solution. The packets are free of charge and available at 4,700 Walmart and Sam's Club stores with pharmacies. Those with chronic Class II opioid prescriptions will be able to get one every six months.

"The health and safety of our patients is a critical priority; that's why we're taking an active role in fighting our nation's opioid issue", said Walmart's Marybeth Hays.

In a release, Walmart referenced information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute of Drug Abuse that shows more than 65 percent of people who misuse prescription opioids acquire them from friends and family.

It's a smart idea, one that can prevent unused medications from entering the black market.

More than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016, with most of those deaths related to prescription opioids or illegal opioids such as heroin. "While this issue requires many resources to solve, we are confident this unique, easy-to-use disposal solution, DisposeRx, will make a meaningful impact on the lives of many. Too often, these unsafe narcotics remain unsecured where children, teens or visitors may have access", which really drives home the necessity for this newly-established program.

The DisposeRx launch comes in addition to Walmart's other efforts to curb opioid misuse.


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