Walmart announced Wednesday it is now offering a product that safely destroys all forms of unused opioid drugs, but experts say the item is not necessary.
Walmart's product, DisposeRx, and warm water will turn opioids — including powders, tablets, pills, capsules, liquids, and patches — into a biodegradable gel that cannot be converted back into a usable drug. Walmart said this is the first product of its kind, and with 42,000 Americans dying in 2016 from opioid overdoses, the company wanted to take "an active role in fighting our nation's opioid issue, an issue that has affected so many families and communities across America."
About one-third of medications sold go unused, and it's easy for excess pills to end up in the wrong hands, spreading addiction. But DisposeRx isn't necessary, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University, told NPR. Opioids can just as easily be flushed down the toilet. "The problem is the general public just doesn't know that," he said. "Think about it. Every time someone taking an opioid medication urinates or defecates, it gets into the water supply. So that's not the real problem." Catherine Garcia