Opioid collection program kicks off at six Oregon pharmacies

A new opioid disposal program has kicked off at six Oregon Walgreen’s locations, giving people a safe and free way to dispose of those prescription drugs. (KPTV)

Senator Ron Wyden has said that opiate addiction has hit Oregon like a wrecking ball, with the state ranking as the 4th worst in the country for opioid addiction.

In an effort to change that, Walgreen’s has stepped up with a new program the pharmacy chain announce with Wyden Thursday.

In the first national effort of its kind, Walgreen’s has installed safe medication disposal kiosks across the country, six of which were installed in Oregon.

In the state alone, 100 million opioid pills are prescribed each year, or 25 pills for every man, woman and child in Oregon.

Wyden, along with fellow leaders in this issue, stopped by the Walgreen’s at Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Belmont Street Thursday to highlight that pharmacy's new kiosk.

The senator stressed the fact that nearly 75 percent of the people who become dependent on prescription opioids start right out of the medicine cabinet.

With this new program, people will have a safe and free way to dispose of those prescription drugs that would sit unused sitting in medicine cabinets.

“This is the beginning and a very important and timely beginning, because I'm going to be able to go back to the Senate and in the Senate in September I'm going to be challenging those members who have been reluctant to do the other key parts of a solution, the treatment and prevention efforts,” Wyden said at the kickoff event.

Currently, other pharmacies haven't joined in on this kind of program, but there are talks of independent pharmacies eventually taking part in the effort.

The kiosks are located the following Walgreen’s locations: Beaverton - 14600 Murray Scholls Drive Grants Pass - 111 Union Ave. Gresham - 1950 NE. Burnside Road Portland - 940 SE Cesar E. Chavez Blvd. Redmond - 1450 S. Highway 97 Salem - 1992 Lancaster Drive NE.Copyright 2016 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.