If you have leftover pain pills or other prescription drugs, you should get rid of them. Kids and teens can find them and experiment with them — and worse, become addicted to them.
But it's not always as easy as simply throwing them away.
That's why CVS Health and Walgreens are installing machines for disposal in some of their drugstores. Consumers simply drop the unwanted medication into what looks like a mailbox. The drugstore chains hope these units will help stem the growing opioid crisis.
Walgreens started adding drug disposal units in 2016 and now has 600. It's collected more than 270 tons of medications since the program began. AmerisourceBergen, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Pfizer and Prime Therapeutics are partnering with Walgreens to add kiosks to another 900 stores.
CVS Health is in the process of installing 750 kiosks to its stores. It's already donated more than 800 units to police departments. By June, it will have more than 1,600 in total.
So far, CVS has collected nearly 158 metric tons of medications.
There are other options as well. Walmart gives pharmacy customers powder that turns solid when mixed into a pill bottle with warm water. Pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts sends members who receive opioid prescriptions bags that release proprietary carbon when water is added that bonds to pharmaceutical compounds, making them ineffective.
Here are the locations of nearly 2,000 drug disposal kiosks: