Walmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets that turn the addictive painkillers into a useless gel. The retail giant announced Wednesday that it will provide the packets free with opioid prescriptions filled at its 4,700 US pharmacies. The small packets, made by DisposeRx and described by ABC News as a "first-of-its-kind" product, contain a powder that's poured into prescription bottles. When mixed with warm water, the powder turns the pills into a biodegradable gel that can be thrown in the trash, reports the AP. ABC News says the gel ultimately solidifies and describes the end result as "inaccessible for illicit use."
Research has shown that surgery patients often end up with leftover opioid painkillers and store the drugs improperly at home. Forbes cites a 2016 government survey that found 53% of people who abuse opioids get pills from relatives or friends. Walmart says the powder also works with other prescription drugs. The company says its pharmacy customers can request a free packet at any time. (Read about how a doctor prescribed this former journalist Percocet—and how it was all downhill from there.)