Walmart initiative combats opioid epidemic

Attorney General Hunter (center) speaks with DisposeRx co-founder Dennis Wiggins before a demonstration of how DisposeRx works to dissolve medications.

Attorney General Mike Hunter Friday met at a local Walmart pharmacy with officials from Walmart and DisposeRx to receive a hands-on demonstration of an innovative new initiative to help curb the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic.

Walmart announced last week it would carry and distribute the opioid disposal solution, known as DisposeRx, in all 4,700 pharmacies nationwide, free of charge. Additionally, pharmacists have been trained to help educate customers on how to safely and effectively use the product to dispose dangerous drugs of all types.  

DisposeRx is a powder that when mixed with warm water in a pill bottle, creates a gel that can responsibly be thrown out with household trash.

The powder, when mixed with water in a pill bottle, creates a gel that can be thrown away with household trash. DisposeRx is available in all Walmart pharmacies, free of charge

Attorney General Hunter applauded Walmart’s efforts for taking the lead by being the first retail pharmacy in the nation to utilize the program.

“The pioneering initiative from a corporate partner like Walmart is a positive step in the battle against the opioid epidemic,” Attorney General Hunter said. “It is reported that more than two out of three individuals who misuse opioids get them from a medicine cabinet and approximately 80 percent of heroin users abused prescription painkillers first. This is a simple solution to the growing problem of unused prescription pain medication left in the household.”

For more on Attorney General Hunter’s fight to combat the state’s opioid epidemic, click here.

From left: DisposeRx CFO and Co-Founder Dennis Wiggins, Walmart Pharmacist Jennifer Roberts and Attorney General Mike Hunter discuss DisposeRx

The new program comes after more than 64,000 individuals in the United States died from a drug overdose in 2016, up from 59,000 deaths in 2015, the largest jump in the nation’s history.

In Oklahoma over the last 15 years, drug overdose deaths have increased by 91 percent. Between 2015 and 2016 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported overdose deaths in the state increased by 13.2 percent.

“We wanted to do our part to help curb one of the issues contributing to this deadly epidemic – unused prescriptions in our medicine cabinets,” said Walmart Market Health and Wellness Director Robyn Janaway. “Providing an easy, free, responsible and convenient way to dispose of unused medicine will make an impact and help prevent misuse.”

OK Attorney General Mike Hunter

As part of the program, patients filling Class II opioid prescriptions at Walmart pharmacies now receive a DisposeRx packet and an opioid safety brochure. Additionally, patients can request a free DisposeRx packet at any time.

“The way out of the current crisis will take innovative thinking, combined with the collaboration of local businesses, community leaders and local and state governments,” said DisposeRx CFO Dennis Wiggins. “We all have a role to play, whether through public policy or community partnerships, but as long as we are working together, we will ensure the next generation will be a better place.”

For more information on DisposeRx, click here.

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