May 13, 2019
By Elizabeth Walker, Walmart Corporate Affairs
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.
Tristan was unique. His story is not. Each year, tens of thousands of Americans die because of opioid abuse.
As Tristan’s mom, Gina Allgaier, worked to make sense of Tristan’s death, she realized she had to do something to turn the tide in communities. That’s why she founded Speakup About Drugs, an organization working to educate the public about addiction. One aspect of the group’s work is visiting local Walmart wellness events to share personal stories and inform customers about how to safely monitor, secure and dispose of medications.
“People want to know what to do,” Gina said. “We’re educating people about how to talk to their healthcare professionals about opioids.”
Like Gina, Walmart wants to make a difference and be part of the solution for the communities we serve. That’s why we are supporting Drug Enforcement Administration prescription drug takeback days and education events in our stores across the country. We have implemented limits on initial acute opioid prescriptions aimed at helping to reduce the potential for addiction, as well as the supply of excess pills that can fall into the wrong hands. Our pharmacists counsel patients on the risks of opioids. In fact, researchers from an academic institution studying those struggling with addiction have commended our pharmacists for helping those facing addiction issues find the help they need.
“It’s about creating healthier communities,” Gina said.
We couldn’t agree more.
Editor’s Note: We’re committed to being part of the solution. To learn more about our stewardship initiative, go to www.walmart.com/prevention. In honor of National Prevention Week, go to Walmart.com/takeaction for more details.