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CVS Health efforts have helped collect 47 metric tons of unwanted meds


WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Health is releasing new data illustrating the impact of the company's Medication Disposal for Safer Communities program ahead of the upcoming National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 22. Since 2014, the company's disposal program has donated a total of 626 drug disposal units to police departments in 42 states, collecting more than 47 metric tons of unwanted medication.

And in conjunction with Take Back Day, more than 135 CVS Pharmacy locations are also hosting drug take back events managed by local law enforcement agencies across the country, bringing the total number of take back events hosted by CVS Pharmacy locations to more than 800 since 2013. CVS Health also is launching a new online tool as part of the drug abuse prevention resources on that allows visitors to search by zip code to find a safe medication disposal location near them that is accessible year-round.

"Safe drug disposal is an important priority for CVS Health because of the critical role it plays in helping to combat the opioid abuse epidemic that is challenging so many communities around the country," stated Tom Davis, VP pharmacy professional practices at CVS Pharmacy. "The more than 600 drug disposal units we have donated to law enforcement agencies through the Safer Communities program have collected more than 47 metric tons – or more than 100,000 pounds – of unwanted medication.  We are also pleased to host law enforcement officials at more than 135 CVS Pharmacy locations for Take Back Day events this weekend on Saturday, Oct. 22, and at the same time, launch a new tool that enables people to find local disposal options year-round."    

Launched in 2014, the CVS Health Medication Disposal for Safer Communities program is an innovative community partnership that allows local police departments to apply to receive a drug collection unit to help their communities safely dispose of unwanted medications, including controlled substances.  Through the program, CVS Health works with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to provide the drug collection units that help rid communities of unwanted medications that may otherwise be diverted, abused or contaminate our water supply.

"As a proud partner of the Medication Disposal for Safer Communities program, we have seen CVS Health's long track record of making safe drug disposal a priority," said Marcia Lee Taylor, president and CEO, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.  "The tens of thousands of pounds of unwanted medication collected as part of the Safer Communities program truly has a critical impact on preventing drug diversion and abuse for families across the country."

In addition to its focus on proper medication disposal through the Safer Communities program, CVS Health is also working to address and prevent prescription drug abuse in other ways.  The company has increased access to the opioid-overdose reversal medication naloxone in 36 states and operates a number of prevention education efforts. Through the company's Pharmacists Teach program, CVS pharmacists have volunteered to speak to more than 100,000 students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. The company also provides drug abuse prevention tips for patients on and recently announced a partnership with to reach teenagers with a prevention message online and via text message.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. 


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