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AG joins Walmart to introduce free prescription, opioid home disposal kits

Heide Brandes / Red Dirt Report
Dennis Wiggins, CFO of DisposeRx; Walmart Clinical Services Manager Jennifer Roberts; and Attorney General Mike Hunter demonstrate how DisposeRx allows users to safely destroy prescription and opioid painkillers at home.
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- In America, 45 percent of citizens have left over prescription drugs in their medicine cabinets at home, and 70 percent of opioid and heroin users started by stealing from friends’ or family’s medicine cabinets.

Yet safe disposal of prescription drugs, including opioid pain medication, presented challenges ranging from where to dispose of the drugs and environmental concerns with flushing them down the toilet or just throwing them away.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter joined officials with Walmart and DisposeRx on Friday to demonstrate Walmart’s new opioid disposal solution. Last week, Walmart became the first national retail pharmacy to partner with DisposeRx to offer a free, in-home prescription disposal program at all 4,700 pharmacies.

“This is a national problem,” said Dennis Wiggins, CFO of DisposeRx. “It starts in our homes, but there is a second issue that Walmart is addressing – environmental contamination of the drinking water and our children’s and our children’s children’s drinking water. By improperly disposal, 24 of the nation’s 40 largest public drinking sources have measurable amounts of prescription drugs in it. This is providing a solution at the source of the problem – which is the home.”

Jennifer Roberts, clinical services manager for Walmart Pharmacies in Central Oklahoma, demonstrated how the DisposeRx home kit worked. Pill bottles

“We are here to talk about a new resource in the fight against the opioid epidemic, and that’s an issue that many families in Oklahoma face and across the nation,” she said. “Be sure that the bottle is less than a third full. Fill it up with lukewarm water. Add the DisposeRx packet and shake it up and just throw it away.”

The kits are offered free to the public at the Walmart pharmacy, Roberts said. Walmart announced last week it would carry and distribute the opioid disposal solution, known as DisposeRx, in all of its 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.

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.

“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.”

Walmart and Oklahoma's Attorney General are being proactive in addressing America's opioid crisis. (Heide Brandes / Red Dirt Report)

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.

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 Wiggins. “We all have a role to play, whether through public policy, or community partnerships, but as long as we are working together in a systematic way, we will ensure the next generation will be a better place.”

For more information on DisposeRx, visit: disposerx.com

As Attorney General, Hunter has been aggressive in his plan to address opioid abuse in Oklahoma.

Earlier this week, Hunter and members of the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse released its findings and recommendations on ways to combat the opioid epidemic in Oklahoma, a plan that also includes taxing opioid manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers.

The commission created 31 recommendations to address opioid abuse, overdoses and irresponsible prescribing, including mandating the use of electronic prescriptions; criminalizing the trafficking of fentanyl and its equivalent; passing a Good Samaritan Law; requiring medical clinic owners to register with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and instituting a tax on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of opioids, and use the money as a funding mechanism for opioid addiction treatment and more.

“Since the commission’s formation in April, members have demonstrated and advocated the need for changes to reverse this nightmarish epidemic,” said Hunter.

Hunter also announced his office acted on the commission recommendation to participate in the First Responder Overdose Program, through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

“This morning, I signed a memorandum of understanding with the department of mental health to have agents in the Attorney General’s Office trained to carry Naloxone,” Attorney General Hunter said. “We hope leading by example, will send a message to other law enforcement agencies to get involved with this program.”

Hunter has taken an aggressive stance against opioid manufacturers as well. The state, along with other states and tribal governments, have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, and in January, a Cleveland County District Judge set a trial date for Oklahoma’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, Allergan, Teva and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

Oklahoma’s lawsuit is the first to receive a trial date.

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About the Author

Heide Brandes

Heide Brandes is an award-winning journalist and editor with more than 18 years of experience....

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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