As the abuse of prescription medications continues to be a widespread problem throughout New Mexico and the rest of the United States, Walgreens is taking steps to put an end to the epidemic. One such recent effort is through the creation of safe medication disposal kiosks.
As of July 2016, Walgreens had succeeded in opening these kiosks in 288 of their pharmacies throughout 21 states and Washington D.C. When the initiative was introduced, representatives from Walgreens reported that their goal was to install these kiosks at 500 different locations throughout the U.S.
Why Are These Kiosks Needed?
Historically, most people got rid of unwanted medications by washing them down the sink, flushing them down the toilet, or by simply throwing them in the garbage. The result of these methods, however, can prove to be detrimental for a number of reasons.
When washed down a toilet or sink, the chemicals in the medications can taint water sources, ultimately having a negative impact on aquatic life. When medications are thrown in the garbage, they become accessible to children who may ingest them out of curiosity, unaware of their dangers. They also become accessible to drug-seekers, who may be searching through garbage looking for exactly that – discarded medications or anything else that can be used to elicit a high.
Whenever anyone consumes a medication that they do not have a medical need for, they run the risk of experiencing negative side effects. They are also putting themselves at risk for suffering from an overdose.
By making these medication disposal kiosks available, Walgreens is giving individuals an alternative way of discarding any unused, unwanted, or expired prescription medications. Over-the-counter medications can also be disposed of at these kiosks.
In order to raise awareness on the prevalence of prescription drug abuse, as well as to provide individuals with a safe outlet to dispose of their medications, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) instituted a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. On this day, authorized collectors throughout the U.S. are available for individuals to come and get rid of their unwanted medications.
Walgreens has long been in support of this initiative by participating in the Take-Back Day, but they are taking their efforts a step further with the opening of these medication disposal kiosks. These kiosks allow individuals to dispose of their medications at any time of the year. And, the kiosks are typically open during normal pharmacy hours which, for many Walgreens locations, are 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In order to encourage the use of their kiosks, Walgreens does not charge individuals for dropping off their medications. Instead, people can come in, dispose of their medications, and then leave without any hassle.
Finding a Location
For residents of Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Walgreens located at 3298 Cerrillos Road offers a safe medication disposal kiosk. For those in Albuquerque or outside of the Santa Fe area, locations with kiosks available can be found here.