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Local Pharmacy Steps Up To Do The Right Thing

A new point-of-sale medication disposal dropbox will help curtail the local crisis of addiction

Locally-owned Market Street Pharmacy in New Castle became the first pharmacy in the state of Virginiai to take delivery of a new turn-key solution that will help independent, locally-owned pharmacies address the local opioid epidemic.

The Initiative is a regional effort born out of the Prevention Council of Roanoke, dedicated to creating new and innovative ways for targeting specific local challenges of addiction. In addressing the problem of expired and unused medications lingering in medicine cabinets for months at a time, one such solution now makes it easy and affordable for locally-owned pharmacies to provide their customers free, intuitive, point-of-sale medication disposal.

With a power-of-many approach, negotiated a turn-key solution that is less than half the typical cost for pharmacies to provide free medication disposal to their customers. The new program includes: delivery of a heavy-duty stainless-steel cabinet, guidance with DEA licensing, DOT-approved prepaid transportation, and eco-friendly incineration of all customer-disposed medications.

The Market Street Pharmacy took delivery of their dropbox on Wednesday May 15th. The owners were originally approached by RAYSAC (Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition) about becoming a “Responsible pharmacy,” explained Shakira Williams, RAYSAC Director. “This has been a collaborative effort from day one. The owners of Market Street Pharmacy recognized the importance of helping their customers keep medications off the streets and out of the water supply, and we’ve been thrilled to support their commitment,” she explained.

The Prevention Council of Roanoke also teamed up with Community Coalitions of Virginia to help alert every locally-owned and independent pharmacy across the state that this program is available to them. Interested pharmacies can send an inquiry through the contact link on the website.

The dropbox project was the brainchild of strategist Walt Boyle, Jr. an Advisor to The Board of Directors of The Prevention Council of Roanoke. “It took several months to put the pieces together,” Boyle explained. “Now, there’s no excuse; every pharmacy in Virginia should do the right thing and offer their customers safe and legal medication disposal at the point-of-sale. It’s the responsible thing to do, to save lives and support local families.”

Recently, 12 tons of medications (23,972 lbs) were collected by 147 participating agencies at 206 collection sites across Virginia during the DEA’s 17th Take Back Day, on April 27th. This twice-a-year event demonstrates the general public’s understanding and desire for proper disposal.

However, the Initiative recognizes;

  • The need for proper disposal is not every six months; it’s daily.
  • The responsibility and burden to collect residual products sold by the for-profit pharmaceutical industry should not fall on the shoulders of law enforcement officers, volunteers, charities, nonprofits, healthcare workers and government employees.
  • Convenient and intuitive collection of expired and unused medications should be available at the point-of-sale, inside every pharmacy in Virginia and across the country.

[Nationwide 468.72 tons (937,443 lbs.) of medications were collected, involving 4,969 law enforcement agencies at 6,258 collection sites.]


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