Hy-Vee makes effort to help with growing opioid crisis

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- (KY3/KSPR) The national opioid epidemic has gotten the attention of major grocery store chain, Hy-Vee.

Thursday, November 7, marked the official launch for all 276 Hy-vee pharmacies, year-round drug take-back receptacles.

The goal is to give people a safe and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs. Hy-Vee will take unused, unwanted, and expired drugs, all in hopes of making communities throughout the Midwest safer. Hy-Vee Pharmacy Manager, James Klenau said they have worked tirelessly to install the receptacles into the pharmacies. While having a drug take-back drop off is becoming more popular, they're hoping to make a difference.

"It is starting to become more common," said Klenau. "The state of Missouri just recently allowed it, and we have started to do this because we feel it's important that people have an avenue to dispose of unwanted medication. "

You can only drop-off prescription and over the counter drugs. Needles, glass, pressurized inhalers, lotions, or liquids won't be accepted. There is a, no questions asked rule and no forms to fill out, but the receptacles are going to be secured and monitored. They will also be available during pharmacies hours.

Hy-Vee is also capping how many pills you can get at one time to seven days.

"What it does is it limits the amount of opioid medication that is being dispensed for acute pain," explained Kleinau. "There are many instances where not all of that medication is taken."

The keyword is acute pain. Pharmacy Manager, James Kleinau, said the seven-day limit does not apply to chronic pain. Such as cancer treatments, hospice, or other end-of-life care. There are many instances where all of the prescribed medicine is not being taken. Kleinau said he hopes people see the vision Hy-Vee has for creating a safer community.