Walgreens to launch safe medication disposal program in Oregon

 
Daily Herald report
Updated 8/18/2016 4:46 PM
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  • This is the kiosk that Walgreen's officials unveiled as part of the efforts to control unused medications.

    This is the kiosk that Walgreen's officials unveiled as part of the efforts to control unused medications. ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Deerfield-based Walgreens Thursday is launching its safe medication disposal kiosk program in Oregon with the installation of drug take-back kiosks at six Walgreens drugstores across the state.

The launch is part of Walgreens effort, announced in February, to install safe medication disposal kiosks at more than 500 of its drugstores around the country.

Walgreens will be joined by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson and Dwight Holten, executive director of Lines for Life to kick off the drug take-back program.

The kiosks provide a safe and convenient way year-round to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions, including controlled substances, and over-the-counter medications at no cost.

"By making safe medication disposal kiosks available in select Oregon stores and expanding to other states this year, Walgreens is taking an important first step to reduce the misuse of medications throughout the country and curb the rise in overdose deaths," said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of pharmacy and retail operations. "Everyone has a role to play in minimizing prescription drug abuse, and we are committed to being part of a comprehensive solution to reverse this epidemic."

Safe medication disposal kiosks are currently available in more than 300 Walgreens pharmacies across 23 states and Washington D.C. The kiosks are available during regular pharmacy hours (24 hours a day at most kiosk locations) and offer one of the best ways to ensure medications are not accidentally used or intentionally misused by someone else.

"Addiction to opioids and other prescription drugs is a life-or-death issue, and Walgreens deserves significant credit for working in partnership to expand the opportunity to dispose safely of medications that might otherwise be abused," Senator Wyden said. "This program is a smart and targeted tool in the fight to stem this epidemic of opioid addiction in Oregon and nationwide."

Drug abuse continues to be a public health and safety risk. More Americans die every day from drug overdoses than from motor vehicle crashes, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, almost 15 million Americans misused a prescription drug in 2014, and that same year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a national total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths, which include deaths from prescription and illicit drugs. That is a 6.5 percent increase from 2013 and a 140 percent increase since 2000.

In addition to offering a year-round solution for individuals to dispose of their medications, Walgreens continues to participate in DEA sponsored National Prescription Drug Take Back Days, serving as a collection point in communities for law enforcement to collect unwanted, unused or expired medications for safe disposal. The company is also collaborating with the American Pharmacists Association Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependencies to continue to offer a substance abuse education program for pharmacists and student pharmacists.

States where Walgreens Safe Medication Disposal Program has been implemented are Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington. Installation in Wisconsin has begun in the state and is expected to be complete in August.

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