Safe opioid disposal offered by retailers and drugmaker

Safe opioid disposal offered by retailers and drugmaker

A couple of retail pharmacies and even a drug manufacturer are making it easier for patients to safely get rid of leftover opioids. Properly disposing of unused medications can reduce the risk of misuse, abuse or diversion.

Walmart has joined the push with a new product called DisposeRx that is distributed free to every customer filling an opioid prescription. DisposeRx, launched last year by the DisposeRx company, is a packet of polymers that, when mixed with water, converts any form of opioid drug — including powders, pills, tablets, capsules, liquids or patches — into a biodegradable gel that can't be separated or converted back into a usable drug.

With this move, Walmart joins other big pharmacy chains that are trying to tackle the problem of safely disposing opioids through a variety of strategies, including setting up disposal kiosks and handing out pouches designed to deactivate drugs.

Patients filling a new Class II opioid prescription at Walmart pharmacies 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. Existing pharmacy patients can also request a free DisposeRx packet at any time.

"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," Marybeth Hays, executive vice president of Consumables and Health and Wellness at Walmart U.S., said.

CVS was an early innovator

Last fall, CVS Pharmacies introduced an expansion of the company's safe medication disposal program to include locations inside CVS Pharmacy stores. The program marked the Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 28, 2017.

Safe medication disposal kiosks were installed at 750 CVS Pharmacy locations, adding to the more than 800 units CVS Health had already donated to law enforcement officials across the country. Mainly in local police stations, the law enforcement kiosks have collected more than 100 metric tons of unwanted medication.

“Solving the opioid crisis will not be easy and it will take the concerted effort of patients, providers, payors, pharmacies, advocacy organizations, elected officials and community leaders,” said Thomas M. Moriarty, Executive Vice President, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, and General Counsel, CVS Health. “Our safe medication disposal program is just one of the many initiatives we have undertaken to help prevent opioid abuse and drug addiction in our communities.”

Drugmaker jumps in

Meanwhile, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, a maker of methadone among other opioids, recently donated 80,000 safe drug disposal pouches to more than 600 pharmacies in Connecticut, available to customers free of charge.

Mallinckrodt has purchased and donated more than 1.5 million drug deactivation pouches across the U.S., through collaboration with policymakers, community organizations, health care professionals, law enforcement personnel, and industry partners.

The pouches have a plastic zipping seal and a charcoal-based chemical mix inside. They’re easy to use – just pour as many as 45 pills of any kind into the bag and follow that with warm water. The mixture dissolves and dilutes the opioid, making it safe once the pouch is discarded in the trash.

If you or someone you know is taking a prescription opioid, or is going to fill an opioid prescription, be sure to ask about safe disposal of leftover, unused opioids.

If you aren’t associated with any particular pharmacy and want to get rid of unused opioids, you can often take them to your local police. Alternately, you can purchase your own safe disposal pouch at Amazon, Walmart and other stores. A popular brand is the Medsaway Medication Disposal System.

And if you’re concerned about an opioid dependency, don’t hesitate to contact Novus Medical Detox Centers today.

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