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.
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."
May 13, 2019
Speaking Up about Opioid Awareness is This Mother’s Mission
Tristan Thomas had an adventurous spirit. He loved traveling with his family and on his own. He enjoyed mountain biking and exploring outdoors. He even moved from his home state of Arkansas to Seattle, which had been a longtime dream. But in 2017, at age 21, Tristan died of a drug overdose. Read More
April 16, 2019
Walmart provides critical prevention education in schools across the country
As a member of the Prescription Drug Safety Network, powered by education technology company Everfi, Walmart is helping bring a powerful prevention education tool to teens in high schools across the country. The interactive course, called Prescription Drug Safety, uses gamified technology to inform students on topics like safe use, storage, and disposal of medications, avoiding risks associated with prescription drug misuse and abuse, accessing help and treatment through community resources.
In April 2019, Walmart joined Indiana Attorney General Curtis and the Prescription Drug Safety Network for a first-of-its-kind Youth Prevention Summit at the Indiana State Capitol. The event centered around celebrating prescription drug prevention education, and empowering Indiana high-school students to use their knowledge and skills to effect positive change in their schools and communities. Read More