American Walmarts Work to Curb U.S. Opioid Crisis

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, more than 2,800 opioid-related deaths occurred in Canada, in 2016. Interestingly, despite such a jarring statistic, Canada still trails America when it comes to the highest per capita consumers of opioids in the world.

“It’s fairly well-established that what got us to this point is drug companies that have promoted the use of opioids for pain management,” explained Gail Czukar, CEO, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario, on an episode of ‘theZoomer’ that takes a closer look at the opioid crisis. “Chronic pain is a difficult situation to manage, and opioids were seen to be a solution to this problem. The problem was that it got way overdone.”

With notable opioids like fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine, codeine and heroin causing significant harm to addicts, citizens who accidentally over-medicate, and curious youngsters, calls have been made to seek out methods capable of calming the problem.

Walmart Pharmacy

In the U.S., Walmart has introduced what it calls “a first-of-its-kind opioid disposal solution.” Available for free from the retail chain’s 4,700 pharmacies across America, DisposeRx will serve as a simple way for patients to safely dispose of excess opioid-based medicines.

Reads the Walmart press release on the matter: “According to DisposeRx, packets contain a crosslinking polymer blend that, when added to the pill bottle with warm water, sequester any form of prescription drugs – including powders, pills, tablets, capsules, liquids or patches – into a non-divertible and biodegradable gel. The chemicals in the packet are listed as safe by the FDA.”

DisposeRx will be immediately available to patients who are filling new Class II opioid prescriptions from Walmart pharmacies. Packets can also be requested at any time by existing pharmacy patients.

Walmart Pharmacy

It is unclear if, or when, a similar solution may make its way into Walmart pharmacies in Canada.

“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.”

-Adam Grant

theZoomer S5E9 - Opioid Crisis

On a new episode of “theZoomer,” host Marissa Semkiw and a panel of experts discuss Canada’s growing opioid crisis. You can catch this episode Friday, January 19 at 2pm ET/11am PT and 11pm ET/8pm PT.