Walmart To Give Away Opioid Disposal Product

Walmart To Give Away Opioid Disposal Product

By Beth Leipholtz 01/18/18

Walmart says the product, which turns leftover pills into biodegradable gel, is the first of its kind.

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Exterior of a Walmart parking lot

A free program is being introduced by Walmart pharmacies in an effort to limit access to prescription opioids. 

The program will allow people with opioid prescriptions to dispose of unused pills in a safe manner that allows them to be thrown away at home. 

The program works by providing customers with a packet of DisposeRX, which can be used to chemically treat any leftover pills. When the contents of the packet are added to a pill bottle along with warm water, the contents of the bottle form a biodegradable gel and can be disposed of with other garbage. 

The packets will be given to anyone filling a new Schedule II opioid prescription. Those with prescriptions for chronic pain will be given a new packet every six months. People with existing prescriptions can request a kit at any time.

Disposing of opioids properly is vital; according to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 53% of people who misuse prescription opioids have obtained the pills from friends or family. 

"We have an important role to play as an entry point to healthcare," Marybeth Hays, executive vice president of Consumables and Health and Wellness at Walmart U.S., told Forbes. "We hope this new initiative is one step forward in helping to curb opioid prescription abuse and misuse."

Walmart isn’t the only pharmacy making the effort to limit access to prescription opioids. Last fall, CVS grew its prescription drug take-back program to 750 U.S. pharmacies. Additionally, through its pharmacy benefit manager, CVS Caremark, the amount of opioids given for some prescriptions is limited. 

DisposeRX packets are also being used in hospitals and have been on the market for six months, the company's chairman and CEO John Holaday told Forbes

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are other options for disposing of unused drugs if a take-back program is not immediately available. 

“First, mix the medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds,” the FDA’s website instructs. “Then place the mixture in a container such as a zip-top or sealable plastic bag, and throw the container away in your household trash. Before throwing out your empty pill bottle or other empty medicine packaging remember to scratch out all personal information on the prescription label to make it unreadable.”

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at www.lifetobecontinued.com, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.

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