Walgreens opens 1,000th drug disposal kiosk in Las Vegas

Updated June 11, 2018 - 5:28 pm

If you need to get rid of old or expired medication, there are now 11 local Walgreens where you can get the chore done.

The company opened its 1,000th medication disposal kiosk in the nation on Monday at 4905 W. Tropicana Ave. in Las Vegas. The steel-box kiosks in Walgreens pharmacies are open during store hours for people to drop off unused pills for free, ensuring that the active ingredients don’t get into Nevada’s landfills or sewage systems.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, who was on hand for the kiosk unveiling, said the disposal boxes also will help curb Nevada’s opioid crisis by keeping the drug out of the wrong hands.

“I’m sure everyone likely knows somebody who has a friend or a family member who has been affected by opioids and opioid overdose,” Sandoval said. “This is truly, I believe, one of the public health crises of our time.”

According to the Center for Disease Control’s website, an average of 115 people a day die of opioid overdoses. In 2016, Nevada had the 23rd worst rate of drug overdose deaths out of the 50 states.

There are 12 kiosks located in Nevada: one in Henderson, nine in Las Vegas, one in North Las Vegas and one in Reno.

Sandoval said the medications disposed in the Walgreens kiosks will be destroyed in incinerators the state built with grant money. Prescription or over-the-counter pills are accepted, but liquids, illegal drugs or needles are not.

Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of operations, said the kiosks across the U.S. have already collected more than 270 tons of medications since the program began in 2016. The company plans to open 500 more kiosks.

“A lot has come off of homes and bathrooms all across America,” Ashworth said. “This is safe; this is convenient.”

He said many people don’t properly dispose of medications after they recover from an illness or when a doctor changes their dosage.

“A lot of people think they can throw it in the trashcan or maybe flush it down the toilet,” Ashworth said. “But both of those are not recommended. It shows up in the water supply and hurts our environment; it shows up in the landfill and finds its way into other products.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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