CVS Health has completed installation of time-delay safe technology in all 355 Georgia CVS Pharmacy locations, including those in Target stores.
The safes are anticipated to help prevent pharmacy robberies and the potential for associated diversion of controlled substance medications by electronically delaying the time it takes for pharmacy employees to open the safe.
“As the opioid epidemic — which has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic — continues to impact all 159 Georgia counties, we must think of innovative solutions to stop criminal behavior and protect Georgians,” said Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. “The newly implemented time-delay safes will help protect those behind the counter and prevent medication from getting into the wrong hands. I commend the leadership of CVS Pharmacy for installing this technology that will act as a deterrent for criminals and will stop diversion from stores.”
CVS Health first implemented time-delay safe technology in 2015 in CVS Pharmacy locations across Indianapolis, a city experiencing a high volume of pharmacy robberies at the time. The company saw a 70% decline in pharmacy robberies among the Indianapolis stores where time-delay safes had been installed.
Since then, CVS Health has introduced time-delay safes across 18 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in a 50% decline in robberies at CVS pharmacies in those local communities.
“While our company continues to focus on moving the country one step closer to a post-pandemic world by increasing access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing and other measures to help create healthy communities, the misuse of prescription drugs also remains a focus,” said Tom Moriarty, CVS Health chief policy officer and general counsel. “Time-delay safes reduce the theft and diversion of opioid medications and brings added security to our stores, which creates a safe environment for our patients and colleagues.”
The time-delay function cannot be overridden and is designed to serve as a deterrent to would-be pharmacy robbers whose goal is to enter and exit their robbery targets as quickly as possible. All CVS Pharmacy locations in Georgia with time-delay safes display visible signage, warning that time-delay safes are in use to prevent on-demand access to controlled substance narcotics.
CVS Health’s time-delay safe program is one of many company initiatives to help address and prevent prescription opioid misuse and diversion. These efforts include its Safe Medication Disposal Program, which has seen the chain install 135 drug disposal units in select CVS Pharmacy locations and donate 37 units to local police departments in the state.
Presently, the company supports nearly 4,000 safe medication disposal units in CVS Pharmacy locations and through local law enforcement organizations nationwide. Together, these existing medication disposal units have collected more than 2.5 million lbs. of unwanted medications that might otherwise have been diverted, misused or ended up in the water supply.
Additionally, CVS Pharmacy locations that do not provide a safe medication disposal kiosk offer DisposeRx packets at no cost to patients filling an opioid prescription for the first time. According to the manufacturer, when warm water and the DisposeRx powder are added to a container, the combination breaks down medications — including powders, pills, capsules, tablets, liquids or patches — to a non-divertible biodegradable gel, allowing for safe disposal in the trash at home.
CVS Health’s commitment to helping prevent and address drug misuse and diversion also extends to community education and increasing access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone.
The company's Pharmacists Teach Program connects volunteer CVS pharmacists with local students to encourage conversation and teach youth about the dangers of prescription drug misuse. Since 2015, its pharmacists have volunteered their time and delivered curriculum to nearly 600,000 teens and parents across the country.
"We’ve partnered with Discovery Education to expand the reach of Pharmacists Teach into more classrooms with a no cost digital prevention program called Dose of Knowledge. This program provides standards-aligned resources to educators and pharmacists across the United States, and strives to empower educators and pharmacists to address substance misuse and educate students to make good decisions for the health and well-being of themselves and their community," the company said.
Finally, CVS Pharmacy patients can now access the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone without an individual prescription at every CVS Pharmacy location nationwide, including all 50 states, Wash., D.C., and Puerto Rico. CVS Health also has worked with Google to help people locate naloxone at CVS Pharmacy and other locations in their community using Google’s locator tool.