Will Walmart’s Powder Packet Help Fight Opioid Epidemic?

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Walmart will now include a packet of powder with prescriptions for the opioid drugs it fills in an effort to aid in safe disposal of the highly addictive pills.

According to the retailer, the DisposeRX powder included with the prescription will allow customers to quickly and easily dispose of extra pills.

Those who are concerned that their opioid prescription will be used to feed the opioid epidemic can simply add water and the packet to the prescription bottle with the remaining pills, shake and toss. The powder also helps protect water ways from opioid contamination.

Walmart says that it hopes the addition of the powder will help fight the opioid epidemic by making extra pills inaccessible.

Other pharmacies let consumers return unused opioid medications at designated drop boxes; however, these companies have recently been named in a lawsuit filed by the Cherokee Nation alleging they failed to stem the flow of highly addictive prescription painkillers.

The Cherokee Nation along with several states and local governments are looking to drug manufacturers and distributors, like Walmart, to take responsibility for their part in creating the opioid epidemic.

Lawsuits against drug manufacturers and distributors allege that these companies profited off the addictive nature of opioid drugs as well as the illegal sale of prescription medication.

opioid-pill-millThe opioid epidemic, allege the lawsuits, was fueled by the over-prescription of these addictive painkillers after they were approved for the treatment of chronic pain.

States are also pressing pharmacies to track opioid prescriptions, ensuring that patients use the pills they have before obtaining more.

“About one-third of medications sold go unused,” said a senator in Walmart’s statement about DisposeRX. “Too often, these dangerous narcotics remain unsecured where children, teens or visitors may have access.”

According to Walmart, DisposeRX neutralizes prescription pills, tablets, capsules, liquids, and patches.

The powder causes the medications to stick together. The powder will be included in all Class II opioid prescriptions filled by all 4,700 Walmart pharmacies as well as Sam’s Club pharmacies.

“I commend Walmart for taking this innovative approach to help keep unused prescription drugs out of the wrong hands,” continued the senator in Walmart’s statement.

Opioid Epidemic

In 2016, more than 64,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States, many from prescription opioids. In October 2017, a state of emergency over the opioid epidemic was declared.

According to recent lawsuits filed by state and local governments and tribes, the opioid epidemic was fueled by drug makers and distributors in the name of profit.

They allege that once the Food and Drug Administration cleared prescription painkillers, like Percocet and Vicodin, for the treatment of chronic pain conditions, drug makers failed to warn doctors and patients about the addictive nature of these substances.

Further, allege recent lawsuits, the painkillers were over prescribed and poorly tracked in the United States, fueling illicit use and addiction. Other nations are not facing an opioid epidemic, perhaps due to stricter regulations surrounding their use.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in the opioid epidemic, consider contacting the injury law firm of McDonald Worley to help evaluate your claim.