DEERFIELD, Ill., July 25, 2016 - In the first national effort of its kind by a retailer, Walgreens has installed safe medication disposal kiosks at 288 pharmacies across 21 states and Washington D.C. Walgreens is now more than halfway toward its goal, announced in February, of installing medication disposal kiosks at 500 locations around the country.
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To mark the first store in Wisconsin with a drug take-back kiosk, Walgreens will be joined today by House Speaker Paul Ryan for a ceremony at a Janesville, Wis., store. Safe medication disposal kiosk installation in Wisconsin is expected to be complete by the end of August.
The kiosks provide a safe and convenient way to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions, including controlled substances, and over-the-counter medications at no cost. As part of Walgreens drug take-back program, the kiosks make the disposal of medications easier and are available year-round to help reduce the misuse of medications and the rise in overdose deaths.
“Walgreens has taken an important first step to curb the misuse of medications throughout the country and continues to make progress in offering easy and convenient medication disposal,” 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.”
The kiosks at Walgreens pharmacies 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.
Walgreens also has helped curb the rise in opioid overdose deaths by making naloxone, a lifesaving opioid antidote, available without requiring a prescription in more than 2,600 pharmacies across 14 states. On Aug. 1, Walgreens will begin offering naloxone without requiring a prescription in North Carolina and Wisconsin as the company continues toward its goal of offering naloxone without a prescription at more than 7,000 of its nearly 8,200 pharmacies. In states where a prescription is required, Walgreens is available and eager to work with regulators to help update rules to allow for dispensing of naloxone without a prescription.
Naloxone can be used in the event of an overdose to reverse the effects of heroin or other opioid drugs, and is administered by injection or nasal spray.
When naloxone is dispensed, instructions are provided on how to administer the medication, including calling 911. Naloxone is not a substitute for medical care, and anyone who is administered the medication should seek immediate medical attention.
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 20141, 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 2000.2
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:
Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin*
*Installation has begun in the state and is expected to be complete in August.
States where Walgreens offers naloxone without requiring a prescription:
Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York (including Duane Reade drugstores), Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington.
Note: North Carolina and Wisconsin will begin offering naloxone without requiring a prescription on Aug. 1.
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com), one of the nation's largest drugstore chains, is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. More than 8 million customers interact with Walgreens each day in communities across America, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens operates 8,173 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens digital business includes Walgreens.com, drugstore.com, Beauty.com and VisionDirect.com. More than 400 Walgreens stores offer Healthcare Clinic or other provider retail clinic services.
1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs2014/NSDUH-DetTabs2014.htm#tab1-1a
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Increases in Drug and Opioid Overdose Deaths –United States, 2000-2014 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6450a3.htm