America’s largest drug retailing chain recently launched its own program to fight drug abuse. Under the new plan, Walgreens will sell over-the-counter antidote to heroin overdose and roll out kiosks where you can safely dispose of your old prescription drugs in 500 stores.
The drug chain currently operates more than 8,200 stores in all U.S. states. The company announced that the first kiosks will be tested in California. Afterwards, they will be installed in other states. Walgreens plans to make the booths available in 40 states plus Washington DC by year end.
A spokesperson for the chain recently said that the kiosks are designed to help individuals get rid of their old, unused or unwanted medication in a safe and convenient way. The kiosks can be also be used to discard controlled substances and OTC drugs, the statement reads.
Walgreens hopes that the kiosks will prevent other people from misusing or accidentally using medication. Lots of cases of prescription medication overdose are tied to misuse of prescription drugs.
People can get rid of their unwanted medication at any of the 500 Walgreens stores during working hours or at any time at stores open 24/7.
Richard Ashworth, head of the company’s retail operations division, explained that the company’s pharmacists have already been instructed to educate population on how to use their prescriptions. Plus, Walgreens has a long-term strategy to curb prescription drug abuse.
Ashworth added that the drug retailer recently adopted a proactive attitude in helping its clients and local communities to lead healthier lives. The company believes that solutions to the problem need to be ‘comprehensive’ when human lives are at risk.
Furthermore, the retailer plans to provide individuals with an over-the-counter antidote to heroin overdose in about 5,800 of its locations by the end of the year. Naloxone is a opioid overdose antidote that can literally save lives. The antidote helps the body regain its ability to breathe though an overdose blocks the receptors in the brain that allow the person breathe normally.
In the U.S., prescription drug abuse has taken the proportions of an epidemic in recent years. According to the CDC, 44 Americans die of opiod overdose every single day. Prescription opioid abuse also leads to billions of dollars worth of losses in productivity and health care costs.
Sadly, many people that abuse prescription drugs ultimately resort to heroin use. Every year, about 2.5 million people land in E.R. due to drug misuse or abuse.
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