May 10-16 is National Prevention Week: Our Efforts to Prevent Prescription Opioid Misuse

May 13, 2020
By Thomas Van Gilder, Chief Medical Officer, Health and Wellness, Walmart

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 patients from the dangers of opioid abuse and misuse. The curriculum was originally developed in 2018 for Walmart pharmacists as mandatory professional development and is expanding to non-Walmart pharmacists and technicians nationwide, starting this month.

APhA is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. The APhA Pain Management Forum is approved for a total of 6.5 contact hours of CPE credit for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

Expanding Access to Safe Medication Disposal

Walmart is expanding access to convenient, safe medication disposal options across the country by installing medication disposal kiosks inside up to 1,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacy locations across the country before the end of 2020. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from a home medicine cabinet. By offering a range of options for safe medication disposal, we can help our customers prevent prescription drug misuse and abuse.

Providing Lifesaving Overdose Response Training

More than 130 people die from an opioid overdose every day in the United States. Walmart has created a virtual reality tool for training first responders to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose. The new VR tool puts users into a real-life setting where they see how an overdose affects a victim and then enables them to walk through the steps of properly responding and administering the life-saving opioid overdose-reversal medication Naloxone. Walmart is partnering with Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and other prevention-focused organizations to host community training sessions using the VR tool across the country later in 2020.

Ensuring Remote Access to Prevention Education

Despite nationwide school closures, Walmart’s support for the EVERFI Prescription Drug Safety digital program is enabling high school students to continue developing knowledge and skills to equip them to make healthy, informed decisions. A total of 13,000 students in Oklahoma, Indiana, Texas, Colorado, Illinois and Arkansas are on track to complete the program remotely by the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

We are committed to protecting and promoting the health and safety of our communities, especially in these difficult times. You can learn more about the work we are doing to prevent prescription opioid misuse and abuse and find valuable resources here.