Walmart has become the first national pharmacy chain to offer free opioid disposal solutions at all pharmacy locations with DisposeRx, according to a press release on Businesswire.
The Opioid Epidemic
In October of 2017 the opioid epidemic was labeled a public health emergency. Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin as well as the licit prescription pain relievers oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and many others. According to 2015 numbers provided by SAMHSA, 20.5 million Americans 12 years or older had a substance use disorder, and 2 million of those had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers.
The National Opioid Overdose Epidemic
With the growth of opioid prescriptions and uses, the growth of overdose cases grows in parallel. In fact, the overdose death rate in 2008 was nearly four times the 1999 rate, and in correlation the sale of prescription pain relievers in 2010 were four times those in 1999. Those seeking treatment for a substance use disorder grew six time between 1999 and 2009.
Proper Opioid Disposal
Many individuals end up with a few pills left at the bottom of the bottle after their pain is gone. Many of us have prescriptions left in cabinets that are forgotten about or unwanted. These past prescriptions end up expiring, or worse, being found by children or other adults with substance use issues. You may think, it isn’t a big deal and you’ll just throw the leftover pills into the trash or flush them down the toilet. In fact, according to a recent Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs nationally representative survey of more than 1,000 Americans, about 20% of people get rid of their old medications by throwing them away. This is a problem however, because discarded drugs can contaminate landfill soil and water supply. In addition, before the pills reach the landfill they can be found and removed from the garbage by kids or pets. According to the FDA in the last two decades there have been more than 30 reports of accidental exposure to the powerful pain medication in fentanyl patches. Most of these exposures were to children under the age of two. Fentanyl can be so dangerous that 12 of these exposures were deadly, and another 12 required hospitalization. In a 2016 blog, the FDA said, “We look forward to a time when effective disposal alternatives are more widely available.” Fortunately, that time is now.
Walmart and DisposeRx Partner for Proper Opioid Disposal
“According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute of Drug Abuse, more than 65 percent of people misusing prescription opioids are getting them from family and friends, and personal prescriptions are one of the main sources of nonmedical opioid abuse. DisposeRx provides a virtually effortless way for patients to destroy leftover opioids and a way to do so without ever leaving home,” said the January 17 press release. Walmart has announced they will be offering a new, free, convenient solution for responsible opioid disposal with the first-of-its-kind solution, DisposeRx. Beginning immediately, patients of Walmart pharmacies that fill any new Class II opioid prescription will receive a free DisposeRx packet and opioid safety information brochure when picking up their prescription. For patients that receive chronic Class II opioid prescriptions, DisposeRx packets will be offered for free every six months. But that’s not all. Existing pharmacy patients can also request a free DisposeRx packet at any time at locations nationwide.
How Does DisposeRx Work
When you reach the end of your prescription and are looking to dispose of any remaining pills, you can safely dispose of your opioids using DisposeRx. Simply fill the pill bottle two-thirds of the way full with warm water, pour in the DisposeRx powder, close the bottle and shake for 30 seconds. A solid gel will form in less than 10 minutes. The powder works on other powders, pills, tablets, capsules, liquids, and patches, making them chemically inactive and unavailable for illicit use. The gel that forms can be thrown safely into the trash, without risk of contaminating the groundwater. You can find DisposeRx at Walmart locations nationwide, and you can find Walmart locations near you using their store locator here. If you or a loved one are struggling with an opioid addiction, contact Recovery Ways at 1-888-986-7848 for immediate help.