News from the Front Lines
At Walmart, we see and feel the impact of the opioid crisis in the communities we serve. We are working hard to help protect communities and fight this epidemic.
October 15, 2020
Walmart Supports Special Broadcast Event and Virtual Town Hall for Tennessee Families About the Dangers of Opioids
Walmart was proud to work with the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and DEA 360 Strategy to sponsor an important local health program and live discussion addressing the recent spike in overdose deaths in Knoxville County, TN. The October 15 television special, “What Every Family Needs to Know About Opioids,” was hosted by WBIR-TV Knoxville and was followed by a live online discussion at livedrugfreeisuptome.com.
As of October, with still 2 months left in the year, drug overdoses had claimed the lives of 280 people in Knoxville County, a sharp increase compared to 259 deaths in all of 2019.
Featuring James Wahlberg, Executive Director of The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation; J. Todd Scott, Special Agent in Charge for the DEA Louisville Division; and Karen Pershing, Executive Director of Metro Drug Coalition; the television special focused on how the opioid epidemic continues to impact local schools, families, law enforcement and healthcare systems. During a live virtual discussion following the television special, local experts answered questions from the viewing audience about recovery options in Tennessee, signs of addiction and how to help those struggling with addiction.
“As a community, we are all dealing with a lot right now; and while we try to manage our daily lives in this challenging time, we have to remain focused on the crisis that was threatening our community before the pandemic,” said J. Todd Scott, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Louisville Division. "The opioid crisis hasn’t gone away. In fact, we have seen a rise in overdose deaths, specifically in the last few months. What Every Family Needs to Know About Opioids is an important public health program to help families in our community better understand what is taking place in community, signs of addiction and the local resources available.”
The full program can be viewed here.
October 5, 2020
Walmart and EVERFI Offer Free Online Prescription Safety and Mental Wellness Resource
Walmart marked the start of National Substance Abuse Prevention Month and National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month with the launch of a new website that is an interactive learning solution with access to prescription drug safety and mental health resources. Safe & Well is free to anyone through Walmart’s relationship with leading social-impact education innovator EVERFI, Inc.
August 10, 2020
Walmart Collaborates with APhA to Provide Free Comprehensive Opioids Training Program for All U.S. Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Nationwide
As part of our ongoing efforts to help curb our nation’s opioid epidemic, Walmart is collaborating with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) to offer a free online training program on opioid stewardship to all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians around the country. The new resource for pharmacists is being launched at a time when parts of the country are experiencing increased opioid-related overdoses as access to social and treatment networks are disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The customized pharmacist program contains 6.5 hours of training and education, and covers topics like Addiction and Recovery, Chronic Pain Management Best Practices, Opioid Alternatives, and Naloxone Use in the Community.
The online training program was originally developed in 2018 for Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacists. We are providing an unrestricted educational grant to the APhA to make the program available for free to all pharmacists in the country. Pharmacy technicians will also have free access to program courses that provide practical information and tools for understanding addiction as well as guidelines and use of the overdose-reversing medication naloxone.
“We have seen the devastation that opioid abuse can wreak first-hand in the communities we serve, which is why we originally developed this professional education program with APhA to help all 18,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacists be part of the solution. As the crisis in our country escalates, we wanted to help expand access to the program so every pharmacist at every pharmacy in the country – no matter how small or remote – can obtain critical knowledge and tools to help them serve and protect their patients from the dangers of opioid misuse and abuse,” said Dr. Thomas Van Gilder, Chief Medical Officer, Walmart.
May 13, 2020
May 10-16 is National Prevention Week: Our Efforts to Prevent Prescription Opioid Misuse
May 10-16 is National Prevention Week. As we all continue focusing attention and resources on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and laying the foundation for a full economic recovery, the urgency to prevent prescription opioid misuse and abuse is as strong as ever. Here are some of the efforts underway at Walmart to keep up the fight.
Equipping Pharmacists Nationwide with Opioid Safety Training
Pharmacists and pharmacy staff can play a critical role in identifying and preventing opioid misuse and abuse. Walmart is providing an independent educational grant to the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) to offer every pharmacist and pharmacy technician across the country free, comprehensive online opioid education that can help them identify risks, and educate and protect...
November 18-20, 2019
“Hope Stems” from Discussion of Opioids in Indiana
Walmart was proud to sponsor an installation at Purdue University in Indiana that brought attention to the physical effects of opioids on the brain and body.
The installation, called Hope Stems, depicted a giant brain made of flowers —9,000 pink carnations representing healthy brain matter, and 300 black poppies symbolizing opioids’ damage to the brain. The visual reminder was intended to raise awareness and help break the stigma of addiction and substance abuse.
“Working with Purdue University and others to collaborate on solutions is crucial to solving this public health issue. We are proud to be part of the collective voice raising awareness through this unique and informational initiative,” said Warren Moore, vice president, Neighborhood Market Pharmacy for Walmart U.S. Health and Wellness and a 2002 Purdue graduate.
Hope Stems, which was originally developed by Shatterproof and McCann Health NYC, was the focal point of a discussion on the opioid epidemic that was held at Purdue University from November 18-20. The event featured a talk with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, entitled “The Road to Recovery: Combating the Opioid Crisis.”
In addition to the floral installation, there were four information areas around campus with QR codes connecting to information about opioids and personal stories of families affected by opioid use and recovery, as well as resources on naloxone — a drug designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. Students were also invited to sign up for one of three training sessions on how to administer naloxone.
November 8-10, 2019
College Students Working to Keep Their Communities SAFE
Walmart was proud to sponsor the 2019 SAFE Project Collegiate Recovery Leadership Academy Summit. From November 8-10, 50 college students in recovery and supporting those in recovery gathered in Washington, D.C., to learn about recovery leadership and advocacy. The summit is an opportunity for students to network with other Leadership Academy students and mentors, hear from leaders of the recovery movement and participate in workshops designed to enhance their leadership skills—preparing them to become effective recovery advocates on their campuses and beyond.
The Summit is part of the Collegiate Recovery Leadership Academy, which is a year-long fellowship with the goal of identifying and cultivating students from colleges across the country who are in recovery or recovery allies to serve as future leaders in the fight against substance use disorder.
The Collegiate Recovery Leadership Academy was created in 2018 through SAFE Project’s SAFE Campuses initiative. The SAFE (Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic) Project was founded in 2017 by Admiral James and Mary Winnefeld, following the loss of their 19-year old son Jonathan to an accidental opioid overdose. The organization’s vision is to support action that will prevent fatal drug overdoses, and to otherwise mitigate the impact of substance use disorder on our society.
October 26, 2019
National Drug Take Back Day: Keeping Unused Medications Out of the Wrong Hands
On October 26, Walmart joined the DEA and other partners across the country in inviting Americans to help prevent prescription drug addiction and overdose deaths as part of the 18th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. More than 500 Walmart and Sam’s Club locations across 42 states hosted Take Back events with local law enforcement, inviting the public to drop off unwanted, unused or expired prescription medications for safe disposal. In addition, Walmart distributed more than 800,000 fliers on opioid safety and Take Back Day to curbside delivery customers at participating locations.
- In Overland Park, Kansas, State Representative Sean Tarwater, who lost a brother to the opioid epidemic, attended a Walmart Take Back event to show his support for the fight against prescription medication abuse and misuse.
- In Michigan, Walmart worked with MichiganOPEN to host 35 events and, according to law enforcement partners, collected more than 560 pounds of unused medications.
Walmart is working to give customers access to safe disposal options year-round. For those who fill prescriptions for opioid medications, Walmart offers an at-home opioid disposal product, DisposeRx, at no cost in all pharmacies nationwide. Patients filling any new opioid prescription at Walmart receive a free DisposeRx packet, and patients with chronic prescriptions are offered a free packet every six months. Existing Walmart pharmacy patients can also receive a free DisposeRx packet at any time on request.
October 1, 2019
Educating Louisiana Students about the Dangers of Opioid Abuse
On October 1, Walmart sponsored its fifth youth summit in New Orleans, in partnership with the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and the DEA 360 Strategy to inform 4,000 middle and high school students about the dangers of opioids. The program seeks to educate students, teachers, and parents about the warning signs and effects of opioid misuse, and to connect them with helpful resources. Most of all, the program aims to recognize and promote healthy choices and demonstrate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Designed to inspire and empower students to be a part of the solution to end the opioid epidemic, the event brought home the widespread impact of opioid abuse. At one point, students were asked to stand if they had been impacted personally—through a friend or family member—by the opioid epidemic. More than half the students stood up.
Governor John Bel Edwards, Attorney General Jeff Landry, Congressman Cedric Richmond, and Brad Byerley, D.E.A. Special Agent in Charge for the Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi region, all attended the event and spoke to students. Past summits have taken place in Rio Rancho, New Mexico; Salt Lake, Utah; Louisville, Kentucky; and Charleston, West Virginia.
The next youth summit is scheduled for Tuesday, November 26th in Baltimore, Maryland.