Automobile accidents are no longer the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. That title now belongs to drug overdoses, with opioid addiction believed to be the driving force.
A couple of decades ago, prescribers were encouraged to manage patient pain with prescription opioids. While this approach was well-intentioned, it is now considered a contributing factor to the current opioid crisis. Easy access and lack of knowledge helped set the stage for the epidemic. Many were introduced to opioids by family members or friends who had leftover pills in their medicine cabinet. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that over 65 percent of people misusing prescription opioids are getting them from family and friends.
As we fast-forward to today, the prescription pendulum has swung back in the opposite direction. Physicians are currently under intense pressure to limit opioid prescriptions, not just in frequency, but also dosage and duration. Of course, cautious prescribing practices are necessary, especially for drugs with a high addiction potential. However, some physicians and patients are concerned that this reactive pressure to limit prescriptions may result in an over-corrective action creating a new problem.
Cancer patients, severe chronic pain sufferers, and those receiving palliative care rely on prescription opioids to manage their pain. For them, a blanket one-size-fits-all limitation of prescription opioids may well result in constant, needless suffering. They should not be denied effective medication if they are using it responsibly under the care of a physician.
So, how do we keep prescription opioids away from those who don’t need them while ensuring access to those who do?
Walmart pharmacies are helping to address this problem with a disposal kit solution called DisposeRx. In an effort to help curb abuse and misuse, Walmart launched this first-of-its kind opioid disposal solution – available at no cost – in all of its company pharmacies. DisposeRx is available along with counseling on proper opioid use and an opioid awareness brochure outlining risks and helpful resources.
“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,” said Marybeth Hays, executive vice president of Consumables and Health and Wellness at Walmart U.S. “While this issue requires many resources to solve, we are confident this unique, easy-to-use disposal solution, DisposeRx, will make a meaningful impact on the lives of many. Walmart is incredibly proud to fund this initiative that provides our patients with an opioid disposal solution they can access nationwide, at no cost.”
This convenient, at-home solution is not the only one available. To find available solutions in the region, check with local law enforcement agencies for disposal locations, dates and times.
For many, prescription drugs were a blessing that became a curse. Help prevent the misuse of prescription drugs by safely storing and properly disposing your medications.
Walmart pharmacies are located in Jefferson County (Watertown and Evans Mills), Lewis County (Lowville), and St. Lawrence County (Potsdam, Massena and Ogdensburg).