SAN DIEGO — The California Product Stewardship Council this week presented Walgreens with the 2017 Infinity Arrow Award for Service and Take Back in recognition of the company’s Safe Medication Disposal program. The disposal program, launched last year, is the first ongoing national effort of its kind by a retailer to combat the national drug abuse crisis, the company said.
The CPSC recognizes California businesses for outstanding leadership, innovation and partnerships in product stewardship and green design. The Infinity Arrow Award for Service and Take Back recognizes a business that has initiated an outstanding Take Back program for one or more products as an additional convenience and service to their customers.
Walgreens installed safe medication disposal kiosks, available during regular pharmacy hours, in more than 600 pharmacies across 45 states and the District of Columbia, including 53 in California. In its first year, the program has resulted in the collection and disposal of 72 tons of unwanted medication, or the equivalent weight of about 40 midsize cars.
“When it comes to tackling societal problems like drug addiction and water pollution, industries have a key role to play — Walgreens has stepped forward to help fill that role when it comes to the problems of unused and unwanted medicines,” said Heidi Sanborn executive director, California Product Stewardship Council. “Their Safe Medication Disposal program is an excellent example of a company being part of the solution.”
Walgreens’ safe medication disposal kiosks allow individuals to safely and conveniently dispose of their unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions, including controlled substances and OTC medications, at no cost. The kiosks at Walgreens pharmacies are available during regular pharmacy hours and offer one of the best ways to ensure medications are not accidentally used or intentionally misused by someone else.
“Walgreens is taking an important step to curb the misuse of medications throughout the country. We thank the California Product Stewardship Council for recognizing the importance of providing a convenient take back solution,” said Jason Cunningham, regional VP for Walgreens. “As a pharmacy, we are committed to playing a role in what must be a comprehensive solution to prevent prescription drug and opioid abuse.”
Drug abuse continues to be a public health and safety risk. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 6.4 million Americans misused a prescription drug in 2015.
In addition to offering a year-round solution for individuals to dispose of their medications, Walgreens continues to participate in DEA sponsored National Prescription Drug Take Back Days, serving as a collection point in communities for law enforcement to collect unwanted, unused or expired medications for safe disposal.