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29 November
Walgreens: Committed to reversing opioid crisis by expanding safe disposal kiosks
By Rachael

Walgreens: Committed to reversing opioid crisis by expanding safe disposal kiosks

America’s largest drugstore chain, Walgreens announced the launch of its safe medication disposal kiosk program in February 2016 to combat the drug abuse crisis afflicting the United States—due to a gross misuse of overprescribed medications. This is the first ongoing effort of its kind by a retailer on a nation level.

Installation of disposal kiosks

Compared to other companies, the primary focus of Walgreens is to create a safe and effective medication supply chain. In October 2016, it announced that it has achieved the goal of installing over 500 safe medication disposal kiosks at its pharmacies in 35 states and Washington, D.C. and plans were on to expand to Nevada and Maryland by early November. These measures were enunciated as a part of the solution to reverse the ongoing opioid crisis.

The kiosks provide a safe and convenient environment to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescribed medications, including controlled substances and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, at no cost. The kiosks used for the disposal of medications run almost 24 hours a day (or regular pharmacy hours) at most of the locations. Moreover, effective measures and precautions have been undertaken to ensure that medications are not misused accidentally or intentionally. Since its installation across 45 states and the District of Columbia, the 600 kiosks of Walgreens have collected 155 tons of unwanted medications in the first 18 months of the program that have been disposed of safely.

The primary aim of these strategies is combating the increased trend of overprescription that has been reckless to say the least. Since the trend is constantly under check, it has started to decline and as a result, the new statistics fare better than the outrageous 72.4 opioid prescriptions written for every 100 Americans in 2006. Despite the decline, around 66.5 opioids were prescribed for every 100 Americans. This leaves a plenty of unused pills lying around in homes and waiting to be misused.

Joint effort will expand the number of kiosks at Walgreens stores to 1,500

Other leading health care organizations like AmerisourceBergen, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Pfizer and Prime Therapeutics are also joining the mission by widening the availability of such kiosks to another 900 Walgreens stores, especially near military bases and areas where the opioid epidemic has challenged communities.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, members of the military are comparatively more vulnerable when it comes to the misuse of prescription opioids. Consequently, the rate of opioid abuse is higher among them than among civilians. Apparently, service members tend to misuse to cope with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). By installing the kiosks in these locations, the organizations hopes to curb the misuse of medications among them.

This joint effort will make the kiosks available in nearly 1,500 stores of Walgreens nationwide and the organizations aims to collect an additional 300 tons of unwanted medication in the next two years. Such collaborative initiatives by the private agencies are much-needed measures with a potential to inverse the opioid crisis.

Prevent diversion and misuse of drugs

Prescription medications that remain in the home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion and misuse by the members of the family. As a result, these drugs can fall into the wrong hands. One of the other roles of kiosks is to educate citizens on disposal techniques, as many people are not aware of what he or she should do with excess medications, especially disposal techniques. The kiosks of Walgreens have now undertaken the responsibility of educating the masses.

If you or your loved one is suffering from addiction to prescription drugs, it is advisable to seek help at the earliest. You may contact the Arizona Prescription Abuse Helpline to find the finest prescription drug abuse treatment clinic in Arizona. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-692-3563 or chat with our experts for more information on the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in Arizona.

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