Walmart Fights Prescription Opioid Misuse

Walmart Fights Prescription Opioid Misuse
Walmart's VR tool will put users in a simulated real-life situation to practice recognizing and responding to opioid overdoses

Walmart is highlighting a number of new measures to prevent opioid drug abuse and misuse during National Prevention Week this week, May 10-16.

By the end of 2020, Walmart and Sam's Club will install safe medication disposal kiosks inside up to 1,000 pharmacy locations.

"According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs," said Thomas Van Gilder, chief medical officer, health and wellness at Walmart, in a company blog post. "The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from a home medicine cabinet. By offering a range of options for safe medication disposal, we can help our customers prevent prescription drug misuse and abuse."

Walmart has also created a virtual-reality (VR) tool for training first responders to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose. The new VR tool places users in a real-life setting where they see how an overdose affects a victim, and then enables them to walk through the steps of responding and administering the life-saving opioid overdose-reversal medication naloxone.

Walmart, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and other prevention-focused organizations will host community training sessions using the VR tool later in 2020.

To help educate non-Walmart pharmacists and technicians in the United States, the mega-retailer has provided an independent educational grant to the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) that will offer free, comprehensive online opioid education to help identify risks, and educate and protect patients from the dangers of opioid abuse and misuse. 

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's list of the top food retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam's Club ranks No. 9 on the list.

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