CAMP HILL, Pa. – Rite Aid and The Rite Aid Foundation said Monday over 550 medication disposal units across the nation are now searchable on Google Maps, making it easier for people to safely dispose of unneeded or unwanted medications.
“We are constantly looking for additional ways to help combat prescription drug abuse and misuse, which is impacting communities across the country,” said Bryan Everett, chief operating officer of Rite Aid Corp. and president of The Rite Aid Foundation. “Thanks to new technology, and partners like Google, finding a safe, monitored place to dispose of unused or unwanted prescription drugs is now as easy as opening an app on your phone or using Google Maps on your laptop.”
To find a safe medication disposal unit in a Rite Aid store or a KidCents Safe Medication Disposal Unit in a local police station or law enforcement agency, users can search Google (including Google Maps on a browser or mobile device) for “medication disposal near me.” Google will show results with the closest Rite Aid medication disposal units for safely disposing unwanted prescription drugs.
“Google is honored to partner with Rite Aid to make it easier for Americans to safely dispose of unwanted medications, including those that are fueling the tragic opioid epidemic,” said Google senior counsel Michael Trinh. “With just a single search on Google, Americans can quickly find convenient medication disposal locations at pharmacies and law-enforcement locations open year-round and do their part to reduce the harmful health and environmental impacts of unused or unwanted medications.”
The partnership with Google is one of several initiatives in-store and beyond that Rite Aid has implemented as part of its strategy to address prescription drug abuse and misuse.
In 2017, The Rite Aid Foundation launched the KidCents Safe Medication Disposal program. The program provides law enforcement agencies in communities served by Rite Aid with free medication disposal units for individuals to safely dispose of expired or unwanted medications. Since launch, the program has expanded to 18 states. To date, the Foundation has partnered with more than 400 law enforcement agencies to make more than 450 units available to customers and communities.
In 2018, Rite Aid announced plans to install 100 medication disposal units in stores across the country. The 100th unit was recently installed in Ottawa, Ohio.
In addition to medication disposal units, The Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program has made a multi-year, commitment to the Prescription Drug Safety program, an innovative digital course about prescription drug abuse prevention.
Developed by EVERFI, an education technology innovator, the course provides high school students with the skills and knowledge they need to make safe and decisions about prescription drugs and prevent abuse before it occurs.
As a result of The Rite Aid Foundation’s commitment, the Prescription Drug Safety program will be made available to more than 400 high schools in California, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington at no cost.
To complement the Foundation’s work, Rite Aid has several in-store initiatives to help address the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse and misuse. Rite Aid was the first drug store chain to offer DisposeRx packets at all its pharmacies. DisposeRx packets contain a biodegradable powder that, when mixed with water in the prescription vial, dissolves drugs, forming a viscous gel which may be safely discarded in the trash.
Beyond encouraging proper disposal of expired or unwanted medications, Rite Aid pharmacists work closely with patients’ prescribers and collaborate on appropriate pain management therapy decisions. All patients with new opioid prescriptions receive required counseling on their prescriptions. In addition to supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for prescribing opioids, Rite Aid also participates in prescription drug monitoring programs. Rite Aid also provides ongoing education and training about prescription drug misuse and abuse to its more than 5,000 pharmacists.
Rite Aid has worked hard to increase access to the opioid overdose reversal medication, naloxone, which is now available in all Rite Aid pharmacies without a prescription.