This month, Walmart became the first national drug chain to offer a free opioid disposal kit at all of its pharmacy locations.

That kit is the brainchild of a recent Southern Pines startup company, DisposeRx. The solution is a small packet of FDA-approved chemicals that when emptied into a pill bottle with warm water, form into a gel that bonds with opioid pills, locking them up to prevent further use. John Holaday, co-founder and CEO of DisposeRx, told USA today on Jan. 17, that this product helps fight the nation’s growing opioid epidemic in the place where most prescription drugs fall into the wrong hands.

“Seventy percent (of the opioid problem) begins in the medicine cabinet,” Holaday told USA Today. “If we can curb that we’ll stop an awful lot of this.”

Sanford City Councilman Chas Post publicly applauded Walmart on Tuesday, issuing a formal press release that also announced the product is available at Sanford’s Walmart location.

“The opioid crisis is very real, but with innovations from government, from the community, and private sector companies like Walmart, we can find ways to address it and prevent further tragedy,” Post said. “I applaud Walmart’s forward thinking on this issue and want to thank the company for making this program available in Sanford and Lee County.”

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Post, who was re-elected to a second term in 2017, recently led the establishment of the Sanford/Lee County Opioid Abuse Task Force, consisting of leaders from law enforcement, the criminal justice system, the education sector, public health and others earlier this month. Although the project is in the early stages, Post said he hopes that it will eventually result in a standing committee made up of community stakeholders which will study the crisis and make recommendations to various local institutions about concrete steps for combating it.

“The task force is going to be about so much more than just having meetings and talking,” Post said. “The solutions to this problem are going to be developed at the local level, and I look forward to learning about and implementing the many initiatives and ideas – like Walmart’s DisposeRX program – that are available to us as we move forward.”

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