DEERFIELD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Walgreens today announced that it has implemented the first of two programs in California to combat drug abuse, part of a comprehensive national plan announced earlier this year to address key contributors to the crisis.
Individuals in California now have a safe and convenient way to dispose of their unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions, including controlled substances and over-the-counter medications, at no cost. Walgreens has installed 50 safe medication disposal kiosks in Walgreens drugstores across the state. The safe medication disposal kiosks make the disposal of medications easier while helping to reduce the misuse of medications and the rise in overdose deaths.
“By making safe medication disposal kiosks available in select California stores and expanding to other states this year, Walgreens is taking an important first step to curb the misuse of medications throughout the country,” said Alex Gourlay, President of Walgreen Co. “As a pharmacy, we are committed to playing a role in what must be a comprehensive solution to prevent prescription drug and opioid abuse.”
To kick off the launch of the safe medication disposal program in California, Walgreens will host a series of events with local lawmakers working to fight the drug abuse crisis in the state leading up to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 30. U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, representing California’s 23rd congressional district and State Assembly Member Shannon Grove will participate in today’s event in Bakersfield.
“Our country is facing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse and opioid overdoses. In our community, more than 160 people over the past six years have been sent to the emergency room for opioid overdoses. Addiction tears apart families, it uproots communities and it deprives Americans from grasping their dreams and opportunities,” said House Leader McCarthy. “In Congress I have worked with my colleagues to prepare legislation to support local communities and to supplement the efforts of local law enforcement and pharmacies as they work together to roll back this epidemic. To successfully achieve this, we need strong community partners. Walgreens is at the forefront of curbing drug diversion through its safe disposal program, and I’m proud that our community will be among the early beneficiaries.”
Walgreens also is working to make naloxone, a potentially lifesaving opioid antidote, available without requiring a prescription from an individual’s physician at California pharmacies. The medication is currently available with a prescription in California and 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.
“In addition to making it easier and safer for Californians to drop off their unwanted, unused or expired medications in our participating stores, we’re also working to expand access to naloxone in this state and others,” said Roberto Valencia, Walgreens Operations Vice President for the Western Region. “Together, these programs will go a long way to help address the epidemic of prescription drug abuse and heroin overdose.”
In February, Walgreens announced plans to make naloxone available without a prescription in 35 states and Washington D.C. in accordance with each state’s pharmacy regulations. Since its announcement, naloxone has been made available without a prescription in more than 1,300 Walgreens pharmacies throughout the states of Alabama, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
When implementation of the program is complete, naloxone will be available without a prescription in more than 5,800 of Walgreens nearly 8,200 stores.
The installation of safe medication disposal kiosks in California is part of a nationwide effort and is expected to be completed at more than 500 Walgreens locations later this year. The kiosks at Walgreens pharmacies will be available during regular pharmacy hours (24 hours a day at most of these locations) and will offer one of the best ways to ensure medications are not accidentally used or intentionally misused by someone else.
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. About 4,500 Californians died following drug overdoses in 2014, up by 1,500 (or 50 percent) from 2002, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That same year, the CDC reported a national total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths, which include death from prescription and illicit drugs. That is a 6.5 percent increase from 2013 and a 140 percent increase since 2000.
Walgreens also 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.
Select California Walgreens with safe medication disposal kiosks:
|Alameda -- 2300 Otis Drive|
|Anaheim -- 3446 W. Ball Road|
|Arleta -- 9750 Woodman Ave.|
|Bakersfield -- 9550 Hageman Road|
|Bellflower -- 9031 Rosecrans Ave.|
|Burlingame -- 260 El Camino Real|
|Cathedral City -- 33975 Date Palm Drive|
|Chico -- 860 East Ave.|
|Chino -- 12490 Central Ave.|
|Citrus Heights -- 6144 Dewey Drive|
|El Cerrito -- 11565 San Pablo Ave.|
|Elk Grove -- 7299 Laguna Blvd.|
|Fontana -- 16108 Foothill Blvd.|
|Freedom -- 1810 Freedom Blvd.|
|Fresno -- 1016 W. Shaw Ave.; 626 S. Clovis Ave.|
|Fullerton -- 1826 W. Orangethorpe Ave.|
|Gardena -- 1344 W. Redondo Beach Blvd.|
|Hesperia -- 17051 Bear Valley Road|
|Huntington Beach -- 19001 Brookhurst St.|
|La Puente -- 934 N. Hacienda Blvd.|
|Lodi -- 75 N. Ham Lane|
|Long Beach -- 2627 Pacific Ave.|
|Los Angeles -- 3201 W. 6th St.|
|Los Gatos -- 423 N. Santa Cruz Ave.|
|Menifee -- 30251 Murrieta Road|
|Mountain View -- 121 E. El Camino Real|
|Oceanside -- 3752 Mission Ave.|
|Palm Desert -- 44840 Monterey Ave.|
|Riverside -- 8044 Limonite Ave.|
|San Diego -- 3222 University Ave.; 10787 Camino Ruiz|
|San Francisco -- 5280 Geary Blvd.; 1189 Potrero Ave.; 275 Sacramento St.; 498 Castro St.; 3201 Divisardero St.|
|San Jose -- 350 N. Capitol Ave.|
|San Leandro -- 15500 Washington Ave.|
|Santa Cruz -- 1718 Soquel Ave.; 201 Front St.|
|Santa Maria -- 2399 S. Broadway|
|Santa Rosa -- 4610 Sonoma Hwy.|
|Scotts Valley -- 210 Mount Hermon Road|
|Seaside -- 1055 Fremont Road|
|Turlock -- 1591 Geer Road|
|Tustin -- 13052 Newport Ave.|
|Vallejo -- 1050 Redwood St.|
|Van Nuys -- 5224 Coldwater Canyon Ave.|
|Visalia -- 100 W. Walnut Ave.|
|Walnut Creek -- 2900 Main St.|
|Yuba City -- 855 Colusa Ave.|
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, SkinStore.com and VisionDirect.com. Walgreens also manages more than 400 Healthcare Clinic and provider practice locations around the country.