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.
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.
Reaching West Virginia Students About the Dangers of Opioids: A “Game Changer”
Walmart was proud to support the inspirational Game Changer Opioid Awareness Summit in September that brought together nearly 100,000 middle and high school students across West Virginia both virtually and in-person for an important cause: learning ways to fight the opioid epidemic.
The goal of the two-day Summit was to empower teens with the knowledge and tools to fight against substance abuse and make healthy choices. Among the speakers at the events were former NBA player Chris Herren, who is in recovery from opioid addiction, and author Rhonda Sciortino, who has an inspiring story of overcoming a childhood of abuse, abandonment, and poverty while growing up in a household affected by addiction.
The event was organized by the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission (WVSSAC) and MVB Bank, along with the two universities, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, and the West Virginia Governor's Office.
The summit kicked off the “Be a Game Changer” campaign, which encourages teens and all residents of West Virginia to find a way to make a difference in fighting the opioid epidemic, and to share information with those who may need help.
"The students who will take part in this event are our leaders of tomorrow," said Nemish Shah, Walmart's regional director of health and wellness and a trained pharmacist. "We appreciate their recognition of the power that comes from working meaningful impact they can have by collaborating with their peers and a their shared commitment to making a positive change in our great state."