Kroger Makes It Easier to Dispose of Unused Prescription Drugs
The Kroger Co. is co-hosting events to help Americans take control of their health by offering a safe place to dispose of expired and unused medications.
At a time when prescription drug misuse is a major concern, the Cincinnati-based grocer is teaming with Cardinal Health to host events at more than 200 of its pharmacy locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 27. On this date, local residents will have a safe, convenient and anonymous method available for disposing of medications that are no longer needed.
At the same time, these events – part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day – help raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and the importance of using medications responsibly. Kroger pharmacy associates will provide participants with resources to educate about prescription drug misuse.
"Kroger is committed to partnering with our associates, customers, communities and companies like Cardinal Health to help solve the opioid epidemic," said Colleen Lindholz, president of the Kroger Pharmacy and The Little Clinic. "The drug take-back events are one part of our comprehensive commitment, which includes offering naloxone, the life-saving medication, at our 2,300 pharmacy locations across the country to combat the health crisis."
Only 11 percent of unused medication is disposed of properly, according to the Geisinger Center for Health Research, and more than half of people who misused prescription pain relievers obtained them from a friend or relative, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows. This suggests that proper disposal of prescription medications that are expired or no longer being used is key to fighting the opioid epidemic.
Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal Health and Kroger have worked together to sponsor community drug take-back events for several years. In April 2018, they co-hosted more than 100 events across 26 states, where more than 16,000 pounds of unused or expired medications were collected.
Kroger isn't limiting education on the dangers of prescription drug misuse to its stores: Last month, Kroger Pharmacy expanded its partnership with Washington, D.C.-based education technology company Everfi to provide more classrooms and high schoolers with drug abuse prevention education through the Prescription Drug Safety Network. The flagship digital program gives students the knowledge and skills to make safe, informed decisions about prescription medications.
Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is seeing participation from other U.S. grocers as well. For instance, East Coast grocer Wegmans has joined forces with local law enforcement agencies across its six-state footprint to offer community prescription medication drop-off events at 82 stores the same day.
Additionally, a number of the nation's top grocers have been working this year to combat the opioid epidemic. In January, Walmart began providing a free opioid disposal solution at its stores that contains a safe cross-linking polymer blend that, when emptied into a pill bottle with warm water, sequesters medication into a nondivertible, biodegradable gel. Big Y Pharmacy and Wellness Centers have also begun offering a product that renders prescription medications unusable. Further, Hy-Vee and Albertsons are now on the list of grocers that offer naloxone, a medication used to reverse the impacts of an opioid overdose, without a prescription.
Kroger operates nearly 2,800 stores under a variety of banner names across the United States. The company is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.