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Oklahoma Attorney General commends Walmart’s new initiative to combat opioid epidemic

Attorney General Mike Hunter shows how the DisposeRx powder, when mixed with water in a pill bottle, creates a gel that can be thrown away with household trash. DisposeRx is available in all of Walmart's 4,700 pharmacies nationwide, free of charge

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Attorney General is commending Walmart’s new initiative to combat the growing opioid epidemic.

Attorney General Mike Hunter today met at a local Walmart pharmacy with officials from Walmart and DisposeRx to receive a hands-on demonstration of an innovative new initiative to help curb the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic.

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.

Attorney General Hunter applauded Walmart’s efforts for taking the lead by being the first retail pharmacy in the nation to utilize the program.

“The pioneering initiative from a corporate partner like Walmart is a positive step in the battle against the opioid epidemic,” Attorney General Hunter said. “It is reported that more than two out of three individuals who misuse opioids get them from a medicine cabinet and approximately 80 percent of heroin users abused prescription painkillers first. This is a simple solution to the growing problem of unused prescription pain medication left in the household.”

The new program comes after more than 64,000 individuals in the United States died from a drug overdose in 2016, up from 59,000 deaths in 2015, the largest jump in the nation’s history.

In Oklahoma over the last 15 years, drug overdose deaths have increased by 91 percent, the attorney general’s office said in a release. Between 2015 and 2016 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported overdose deaths in the state increased by 13.2 percent.

“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.”

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 DisposeRx CFO Dennis 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.”