Drug chain also expands availability of naloxone without prescription
The drug chain said drug take-back kiosks have been installed at stores in Carlstadt, East Brunswick, East Orange, Elizabeth, Elmwood Park, Hamilton, Jersey City, Millville, Neptune, Parsippany, Perth Amboy, Somerville, Toms River, Union and Waldwick. Installation of a kiosk at the retailer’s Pennsauken, N.J., store is slated to be completed by Dec. 30.
Walgreens kicked off the program in New Jersey at an event in the East Brunswick store with Gov. Chris Christie.
The kiosks are designed to provide a convenient, year-round way to discard unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions, including controlled substances, and over-the-counter medications at no cost.
“Many times, the disease of addiction begins at home in a person’s medicine cabinet, in New Jersey I have made it a priority to target this source by implementing, expanding and promoting programs such as Project Medicine Drop and the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program,” Christie said in a statement. “Misuse of prescription drugs is a major pathway to addiction, and this safe disposal program will go a long way to eliminating adults’ and children’s accessibility to these dangerous unused drugs.”
The drug disposal kiosks have now been deployed at more than 500 Walgreens pharmacies in 43 states and Washington, D.C. The kiosks are available during regular pharmacy hours, 24 hours a day at most kiosk locations.
“By making safe medication disposal kiosks available in select New Jersey stores, as we have done in 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,” stated Kim Treece, regional vice president in New Jersey for Walgreens. “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 rollout of the medication disposal kiosks is part of a larger effort to combat drug abuse that Walgreens announced in February. Besides installing the drug disposal units, Walgreens had announced a plan to make the opioid-overdose antidote naloxone available without a prescription at most of its stores.
Last week, the drug chain made naloxone available without a prescription at stores in Mississippi, Missouri and the District of Columbia. Overall, the overdose antidote can now be obtained with no prescription, in accordance with each state’s pharmacy regulations, at nearly 5,800 Walgreens stores in 33 states and Washington, D.C. Naloxone is administered by injection or nasal spray.
“By making naloxone available without a prescription, we are making it easier for families and caregivers to help their loved ones by having it on hand in case it’s needed,” stated Rick Gates, group vice president of pharmacy for Walgreens. “As a pharmacy we are here to help people, and we are committed to making naloxone more accessible in the communities we serve.”
Walgreens added that by early 2017 it plans to begin offering naloxone without a prescription at stores in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Nevada and Tennessee.