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Wal-Mart is cracking down on opiate abuse

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Wal-Mart is cracking down on opiate abuse

Pettycon via Pixabay

Pettycon via Pixabay

Pettycon via Pixabay

Pettycon via Pixabay

Jacob Fuhrmeister, Staff Contributor

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Walmart announced on Monday that it is expanding upon its stewardship Initiative by introducing additional measures in an effort to reduce opioid abuse.

The large chain is limiting supplies of acute opioid prescriptions to no more than seven days. Customers will only be able to receive a maximum of 50 milligrams of a morphine equivalent per day. This policy will be going into effect within the next 60 days and will apply to every Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club pharmacy within the United States and its Puerto Rican territories.

In 2020, Walmart will also require e-prescriptions for controlled substances. They explained that online prescriptions will help reduce fraud and minimize error.

Walmart’s new policies were designed to align with the CDC’s guidelines on opioid usage. According to the guidelines, clinicians should prescribe the “lowest effective dosage” because most abuse often stems from higher dosages. In a CDC study, people who were prescribed at least one day of opioid therapy were 6 percent more likely to become addicted a year later. Those who were prescribed eight or more days saw an increase in the likelihood of addiction jump to 13.6 percent. In 2016, 63,000 Americans died from overdose and two-thirds of those were on prescription or illegal opioids.

Not all doctors agree that Walmart’s policies will help with the opioid addiction problem. The American Medical Association (AMA) believes that there is more to the issue than the amount of opiates prescribed. “Pain is a complex, biopsychosocial phenomenon, and individuals experience pain in different ways. The AMA believes that decisions around dosages needs to be left between the patient and the physician.”

Limiting opiate prescriptions also affects those who suffer from chronic pain. Rachel Burchfield, a news contributor for The Mighty, described the possible implications this policy would have on people like her who rely on pain medication.

“Opiates/narcotics can be dangerous…if used incorrectly or illegally. But for people like me, who are living with multiple chronic pain conditions, this opiate crisis is affecting our treatment plans and more importantly, our quality of life and ability to function.”

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Wal-Mart is cracking down on opiate abuse