Wal-Mart joins opioid fight by giving away free drug disposal kits

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) announced Wednesday it is joining the fight to end opioid misuse by offering its customers free at-home disposal kits to help them safely get rid of leftover pills.

The product, called DisposeRX, will allow patients who have been prescribed opioids to responsibly turn unused pills into a non-divertible and biodegradable gel using warm water.

“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 in a statement.

In addition to the kits, Wal-Mart said it will also provide ongoing counseling to its customers on proper opioid use when filling an opioid prescription at any one of its 4,700 pharmacies nationwide, including its Sam’s Club pharmacy locations.

Arkansas Sen. John Boozman commended the company’s move in a statement saying, “about one-third of medications sold go unused. Too often, these dangerous narcotics remain unsecured where children, teens or visitors may have access.”

More than 65% of people in the U.S., who are misusing prescription opioids, are getting them from family and friends’ personal prescriptions, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

What’s more, Wal-Mart is also urging lawmakers to establish a seven-day supply limit for initial prescriptions issued for acute pain and to require all controlled substance prescriptions be issued electronically, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the company said.