Walmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gel

January 17, 2018 by Tom Murphy
Walmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gel
This photo provided by Walmart shows a packet of DisposeRx. Walmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets of DisposeRx, which turn the addictive painkillers into a useless gel. Walmart announced Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, that it will provide the packets free with opioid prescriptions filled at its 4,700 U.S. pharmacies. (Courtesy of Walmart via AP)

Walmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets that turn the addictive painkillers into a useless gel.

The retail giant said Wednesday that it will provide the packets free with opioid prescriptions filled at its 4,700 U.S. pharmacies.

The small packets, made by DisposeRx, contain a powder that is poured into prescription bottles. When mixed with warm water, the powder turns the pills into a biodegradable gel that can be thrown in the trash.

The move by Walmart is the latest precaution being taken to cut down on opioid abuse. Around 4 million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The agency says these drugs are often obtained from friends and family who leave them in home medicine cabinets.

Research has shown that surgery patients often end up with leftover opioid painkillers and store them improperly at home. Authorities say opioid painkillers should be kept in their original packaging and locked inside a cabinet out of the reach of children.

DisposeRx says its disposal packets also work on other prescription drugs and for pills, tablets, capsules, liquids or patches.

Walmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gel
This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, file photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. Walmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets that turn the addictive painkillers into a useless gel. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)

Walmart says its pharmacy customers can request a free packet at any time. The company also will offer a packet every six months to patients with a regular opioid prescription.

Painkiller maker Mallinckrodt PLC has a similar program. It said last fall that it has donated about 1.5 million drug disposal pouches across the country and will increase that total to 2 million early this year.

Some drugstores chains like CVS and Walgreens also collect unused medications at many of their stores. People can also take leftovers to hospital pharmacies or police stations.

Unused prescriptions also can be thrown in the trash. But the U.S Food and Drug Administration recommends mixing them first with something unpalatable like Kitty Litter or used coffee grounds and then sealing the mixture in a plastic bag.

___

This story has been corrected to show that the information about the types of drugs on which the packets can be used came from DisposeRx, not Walmart.

Explore further: Patient education brochure provides low-cost solution to avoid diversion of unused opioids

Related Stories

Patient education brochure provides low-cost solution to avoid diversion of unused opioids

January 11, 2018
Unused prescription painkillers lying around the home have proven to be a major source of drugs supplying the nation's opioid epidemic,1 but a new patient education brochure that describes safe disposal practices of unused ...

Spring-clean your medicine cabinet to safeguard your kids

March 20, 2017
(HealthDay)—When you learn that just 1 in 5 Americans locks up prescription drugs, it's not surprising to hear that thousands of children are treated for accidental medication overdoses each year.

What you can do to help fight the opioid epidemic

September 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—Proper disposal of prescription painkillers and use of safe alternatives to manage pain could help combat America's opioid abuse epidemic, doctors say.

Americans favor treatment, not enforcement, to address opioid crisis

May 23, 2017
Many Americans have been directly touched by the opioid crisis—more than a quarter of Americans and more than a third of millennials, report knowing someone who has been addicted to opioids or prescription painkillers. ...

Strategies to combat the opioid epidemic

November 15, 2017
The opioid epidemic is ravaging lives and tearing families apart. Overdose deaths from heroin, fentanyl and misused prescription painkillers have tripled in the past 15 years. Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine ...

DEA puts quota on production of opioid painkillers

October 6, 2016
(HealthDay)—The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says it has mandated significant cuts in the production of powerful prescription opioid painkillers.

Recommended for you

Drug overdose epidemic has been growing exponentially for decades

September 20, 2018
Death rates from drug overdoses in the U.S. have been on an exponential growth curve that began at least 15 years before the mid-1990s surge in opioid prescribing, suggesting that overdose death rates may continue along this ...

Anti-cancer drugs may hold key to overcoming antimalarial drug resistance

September 20, 2018
Scientists have found a way to boost the efficacy of the world's most powerful antimalarial drug with the help of chemotherapy medicines, according to new research published in the journal Nature Communications.

Probiotic use may reduce antibiotic prescriptions, researchers say

September 14, 2018
Use of probiotics is linked to reduced need for antibiotic treatment in infants and children, according to a review of studies that probed the benefits of probiotics, say researchers in the U.S., England and the Netherlands.

Recalled blood pressure drugs not linked to increased short term cancer risk

September 12, 2018
Products containing the withdrawn blood pressure drug valsartan are not associated with a markedly increased short term risk of cancer, finds an expedited analysis published by The BMJ today.

Sugar pills relieve pain for chronic pain patients

September 12, 2018
Someday doctors may prescribe sugar pills for certain chronic pain patients based on their brain anatomy and psychology. And the pills will reduce their pain as effectively as any powerful drug on the market, according to ...

A new approach for finding Alzheimer's treatments

September 11, 2018
Considering what little progress has been made finding drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease, Maikel Rheinstädter decided to come at the problem from a totally different angle—perhaps the solution lay not with the peptide ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.