In The United States, the opioid epidemic is at an all-time high. With the continual rise of opioid-related addiction and deaths, many different organizations are taking action. In May of 2018, mega-chains Walmart and Sam’s Club announced their efforts to join the fight against the opioid epidemic: a free opioid disposal solution, called DisposeRX, available at all pharmacies nationwide, as well as the implementation of additional measures to curb the misuse and abuse of the prescriptions.
What is Walmart Doing to Fight The Opioid Epidemic?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 115 people die every day from an opioid overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement. Walmart and Sam’s Club are aiming to take a stand in changing these statistics.
DisposeRX — A Free Opioid Disposal Solution, Now Available
DisposeRX, a free opioid disposal solution, is now widely available at any Walmart or Sam’s Club pharmacy. The solution allows for easy disposal of the old, unwanted, or expired medications that are in medicine cabinets across the country. 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.
Eliminating these opioids, when no longer needed, can eliminate the chance of misuse or abuse. DisposeRX comes with one vial and the disposal solution. It is simple, safe, and easy to use: first, place any unwanted medications into the vial. Then, fill the vial with warm tap water, and pour in the DisposeRX Solution. Shake for 30 seconds; the contents will turn into a biodegradable, viscous gel that renders the medications unavailable and unusable. The vials are safe to toss into the trash. DisposeRx packets work with all medications whether pills, powder, tablets, capsules, or liquids. DisposeRX is available, for free, at any Walmart or Sam’s Club pharmacy, when asking a pharmacy tech.
“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 – an issue that has affected so many families and communities across America,” said Marybeth Hays, executive vice president of Consumables and Health and Wellness at Walmart U.S. “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. Walmart is incredibly proud to fund this initiative that provides our patients with an opioid disposal solution they can access nationwide, at no cost.”
Further Measures to Prevent Misuse and Abuse of Opioid Prescriptions
Along with the DisposeRX solution, Walmart and Sam’s Club are also implementing further measures to curb the misuse and abuse of opioid prescriptions. In the summer of 2018, the corporation announced that they will now restrict initial acute opioid prescriptions to no more than a seven-day supply, with up to a 50 morphine milligram equivalent maximum per day. This new policy is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for preventing opioid abuse nationwide.
Walmart continually aims to fight the opioid epidemic in several ways, both with these current initiatives, as well as plans for the future. On January 1st, 2020, Walmart and Sam’s Club will officially require e-prescriptions for controlled substances. E-prescriptions are much less likely to be prone to error, copying, or altering. This future change aims to prevent people from getting their hands on opioids to misuse and abuse. In states that allow access, Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacists will have access to and use the controlled substance tracking tool, NarxCare. NarxCare is a tool that helps pharmacists make dispensing decisions and provides pharmacists with the real-time interstate visibility that currently exists. Along with this, the companies have also declared their commitment to the opioid reversal medication, naloxone. Naloxone is a medication that blocks opiate receptions in the nervous system, allowing a person to reverse the effects of an opioid they’ve taken. Both Walmart and Sam’s Club aim to have the medication behind-the-counter, of every location, where allowed by state law. The companies are also reinforcing that their pharmacists provide naloxone recommendations for patients who might be at risk for overdose. Lastly, the companies will also provide additional training and education on opioid stewardship for its pharmacists, across the nation.
“We are taking action in the fight against the nation’s opioid epidemic,” said Marybeth Hays, executive vice president of Health & Wellness and Consumables, Walmart U.S. “We are proud to implement these policies and initiatives as we work to create solutions that address this critical issue facing the patients and communities we serve.”
The initiative taken by Walmart and Sam’s Club is a much-needed, encouraging step forward in fighting the opioid epidemic that continues to run rampant in the U.S. It is our hope that these types of initiatives continue to happen in communities and organizations, to further prevent the abuse of opioids and possible overdose, each day.
Do you or someone you know need help with an opioid addiction?
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If you or someone you needs treatment, call our caring team at (888) 226-7413.