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CVS Health adds resources to prevent opioid abuse amid the pandemic


CVS Health is rolling out new and expanded programs to help prevent opioid misuse amid the pandemic, which has presented challenges to delivering traditional drug abuse prevention programs for young people.

The company's newest initiative increases access to digital prevention education resources tailored for the current learning environment.

Working with Discovery Education, CVS Health has launched a suite of no-cost digital resources that empower educators to discuss the facts about prescription and illicit drug misuse with students in either a classroom or virtual learning setting. The standards-based curriculum, called Dose of Knowledge, features Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson and U.S. Women's National Soccer goalkeeper Adrianna Franch. The initiative builds on CVS Health's successful pharmacist-led prevention education program by incorporating the perspective of several CVS pharmacists.

"The pandemic has brought new complexities to the way in which prevention and treatment services are provided, but early intervention remains as important as ever," said Troyen Brennan, CVS Health chief medical officer. "Our work with Discovery Education accounts for the new definition of a 'classroom,' and delivers the same impactful resources to students regardless of their circumstances."

The CVS Health Foundation also has committed nearly $3 million in new grants to address opioid misuse and support treatment in local communities, including:

  • More than $1 million to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics to support addiction treatment and other patient services in 17 states;
  • $1 million to America's Essential Hospitals to support office-based addiction treatment for more than 30 safety-net hospitals and facilitate a collaborative to share learnings with member hospitals;
  • $500,000 to Easterseals to support mental health and addiction recovery services for veterans; and
  • Nearly $100,000 to Young People In Recovery to create a digital life-skills curriculum to help young people rebuild their lives.

In addition to the impact these investments aim to have, a new report from the National Association of Community Health Centers is outlining the impact in this area of previous investments made by the CVS Health Foundation.

CVS Health also is building on its commitment to increase access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone, also known as Narcan. The medication has already been made available without an individual prescription, under a standing order or similar regulation, to CVS Pharmacy patients nationwide. Now, CVS Pharmacy is offering free delivery of naloxone nasal spray in all 30 states where regulations permit, as part of the company's free one- to two-day prescription delivery offering that was implemented shortly after the pandemic began.

On Saturday, Oct. 24, CVS Health will participate in the Drug Enforcement Association's National Prescription Take Back Day, with events at select CVS Pharmacy locations. These events are just part of CVS Health's everyday efforts to reduce the availability of unneeded or unwanted controlled substances, which also include more than 2,800 CVS Pharmacy locations that offer permanent safe medication disposal kiosks. By the end of 2020, CVS Health will have installed more than 2,900 safe medication disposal units in CVS Pharmacy locations and donated more than 1,000 disposal units to local law enforcement.

Together, these units have collected nearly two million pounds of unwanted medication, including opioids, removing these medications from homes where they could be diverted or abused. All CVS Pharmacy locations that do not offer in-store safe medication disposal units continue to offer no-cost DisposeRx drug disposal packets with all opioid first-fill prescriptions that can facilitate safe medication disposal at home.


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