CVS expands safe drug disposal at pharmacy locations in to combat opioid abuse

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CVS Health recently announced that the company has expanded its safe medication disposal program inside select CVS Pharmacy locations in Rhode Island to help facilitate proper and timely disposal of opioids and other medications that could be diverted or misused if left in people’s homes. Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, U.S. Attorney Stephen Dambruch and Pawtucket Police Chief Tina Goncalves joined representatives from CVS Health at a Pawtucket CVS Pharmacy store to launch the program.

“With a presence in nearly 10,000 communities across the country, we witness the impact of the alarming and rapidly growing epidemic of opioid addiction and misuse,” said Tom Davis, Vice President of Professional Services for CVS Pharmacy. “Expanding our safe medication disposal efforts in Rhode Island is an extension of the initiatives in place across our company to fight the opioid abuse epidemic and fulfill our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”

The 14 new medication disposal units that will be installed inside CVS Pharmacy locations in Rhode Island will supplement an additional 14 units CVS Health has donated to police departments across the state. Nationwide, CVS Health has donated more than 850 units to local law enforcement, collecting more than 140 metric tons, or more than 300,000 pounds of unwanted medication.

Attorney General Kilmartin said, “I applaud CVS Health for recognizing that to effectively tackle and defeat the opioid epidemic in this country, all stakeholders need to work together in a coordinated effort. Expanding the company’s prescription drug disposal kiosks to stores across Rhode Island will make it easier for customers to safely dispose of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription opioids and other prescription drugs before they can be abused or diverted for illicit purposes.”

The expansion of the safe medication disposal program to 750 CVS Pharmacy locations across the U.S. was included among the enhancements to the company’s strategy to address and prevent opioid abuse announced in September 2017.  As part of that effort, the company also said it would align opioid utilization management with CDC Guideline for CVS Caremark clients and members, complementing measures already in place. 

This work builds on ongoing company initiatives, including the Pharmacists Teach program, which brings CVS Pharmacists to local schools to talk to teens and parents about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs. More than 300,000 teens nationally – including more than 3,600 in Rhode Island – have already participated in the program. CVS Health has also worked to expand access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone in 46 states, including Rhode Island.

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