Walmart offers free medicine disposal system to combat opioid abuse

Walmart offers free medicine disposal system to combat opioid abuse

Now, in addition to ongoing counseling to patients on the proper use of opioids when filling a prescription for such medications, Walmart pharmacists will advise patients on how to use DisposeRx and hand out a brochure detailing risks and helpful resources.

Here are three things to know.

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.

The world's largest retailer announced the new disposal system, known as DisposeRx, on Wednesday, with plans to make it available to use for free at all of its 4,700 USA pharmacies.

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. Patients taking chronic opioid prescriptions will be offered a DisposeRx packet every 6 months, and existing patients may obtain a free DisposeRx at any time.

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.

The move comes as the USA grapples with the scourge of opioid addiction, an affliction that often begins when chronic-pain sufferers fill a prescription at a retail pharmacy chain such as Wal-Mart, CVS or Walgreens. The DisposeRx packets will be made available at Sam's Club as well.

"About one-third of medications sold go unused".

Walmart is not alone in trying to address the opioid epidemic. "Too frequently, those harmful narcotics stay un-secured where children, visitors or teens may have access", Arkansas Senator John Boozman said in an announcement. In September, CVS Health said it would limit opioid prescriptions to seven-day supplies for new patients facing certain acute conditions.