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18 January 2018, 01:32 | Louis Holland
The retail chain said Wednesday that its pharmacies will offer a free kit that allows patients to safely throw out unused opioid prescription pills at home.
Walmart customers can request a free packet anytime, and people with long-term prescriptions will get one every six months.
When mixed with warm water and added to a pill bottle, DisposeRX works to convert the leftover meds into a biodegradable gel, which then hardens and is easily discarded.
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It's an important move forward because 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, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
It can be used on medication in any form, including pills, powders, capsules, liquids, tablets and patches.
"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.
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Walmart pharmacies in Rhode Island and Washington will offer an alternative free disposal solution until third-party testing of DisposeRx has been completed in those states.
Safe disposal of prescription opioids is a necessary component to preventing overdoses. That level of death led President Donald Trump in October to declare the opioid epidemic a public health emergency.
Some pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens, accept returns of drugs for disposal at select locations. This method provides a way for patients to dispose any remaining medication in their trash at the convenience of their homes. John Boozman, R-Ark., where the company's headquarters is located.
Wal-Mart said it funds a variety of multistate programs that teach young people about the dangers of prescription drug use. "Too often, these risky narcotics remain unsecured where children, teens or visitors may have access", which really drives home the necessity for this newly-established program.
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