Walmart Partners with DisposeRx to Combat Opioid Abuse

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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The US is currently in the middle of an opioid overdose epidemic. People are not only abusing and overdosing on street drugs like heroin, but also prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone.

Here’s an alarming statistic. Around 65% of people abusing prescription opioids obtained the medication from a friend or relative for free. Prescription opioids are typically used to treat moderate-to-severe pain and are often prescribed following surgery or injury, or for serious health conditions like cancer. It has become more acceptable in recent years to use prescription opioids for the treatment of chronic pain problems, such as back pain or arthritis, despite serious risks and the lack of evidence about their long-term effectiveness.   

The opioid epidemic is now a public health issue, and some outstanding initiative programs have been created to help prevent opioid abuse and overdose. In recent months, CVS started an initiative to make naloxone available without a prescription, more nurse practitioners and physician assistants have been trained to increase access to opioid addiction treatment for people in rural areas, and more prescription drug monitoring programs have been created.

Recently, Walmart has joined the list of companies trying to help curb the abuse and misuse of prescription opioid medications. Walmart has just announced a partnership with DisposeRx for a new initiative that will provide an environmentally safe method to prevent the cycle of medication overdoses and death. Walmart will provide a way for patients to dispose of their class II opioids, for free.

What is a class II opioid prescription?

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, Class II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are considered dangerous.

Some examples of Class II drugs include Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen), Dilaudid (hydromorphone), and Adderall (amphetamine salt combo).

What should patients expect when given DisposeRx?

Patients will receive a free DisposeRx packet and opioid safety information brochure when picking up their prescription. Patients with chronic Class II opioid prescriptions will be offered a free DisposeRx packet every six months.

DisposeRx is extremely user-friendly, instructions for disposal are as follows:

  1. Open vial (containing unwanted prescription opioid)
  2. Add warm tap water until vial is 2/3 full
  3. Add DisposeRx powder and shake for 30 seconds; contents will solidify in less than 10 minutes

When will Walmart Pharmacies begin this new program?

This program is effective immediately at any one of their 4,700 pharmacies nationwide. This will also be available at all Sam’s Club pharmacies.

Can existing Walmart patients obtain DisposeRx for a previously dispensed prescription?

Yes. Existing pharmacy patients can also request a free DisposeRx packet at any time.

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