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CVS Health expands safe medication disposal program into 750 pharmacies


WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health on Wednesday officially introduced the expansion of the company's safe medication disposal program to include locations inside CVS Pharmacy stores, marking the Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 28.

"Solving the opioid crisis will not be easy and it will take the concerted effort of patients, providers, payors, pharmacies, advocacy organizations, elected officials and community leaders," stated Thomas Moriarty, EVP, chief policy and external affairs officer and general counsel, CVS Health. "Our safe medication disposal program is just one of the many initiatives we have undertaken to help prevent opioid abuse and drug addiction in our communities."

The new safe medication disposal kiosks inside 750 CVS Pharmacy locations will add to the more than 800 units CVS Health has donated to law enforcement officials across the country, which have collected more than 100 metric tons of unwanted medication. Properly disposing of unused medications can reduce the risk of misuse, abuse or diversion.

CVS Health is unveiling its first disposal units inside CVS Pharmacy locations in Wilmington, North Carolina and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this week.

"The opioid crisis is tearing apart families all over North Carolina and this nation," commented Attorney General Josh Stein of North Carolina. "Safely disposing of unneeded medications is an important and simple step we can all take to keep these drugs out of the wrong hands. I applaud and thank CVS for making it easier for us to get rid of these dangerous and highly addictive drugs."

"[As many as] 80% of heroin users start with a legal prescription drug," Attorney General Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania said. "We appreciate this effort to end diversion of these highly addictive drugs."

Together with law enforcement, CVS Health also continues to underscore the importance of proper medication disposal this week at the Chatham County Sheriff's Office in Savannah, Ga., which has received two medication disposal units from CVS Health.

"The opioid epidemic is one of the greatest public health threats facing our country, one that took the lives of 982 Georgians just last year," said Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. "It affects every state and has a devastating impact on our communities tearing apart families and stretching the budgets of local law enforcement and first responders as they do the difficult work on the front lines. CVS Health is continuing to find innovative ways to help in this fight, and we are very grateful to have them as a partner in our Drug Take Back efforts in Georgia."

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day 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. Nearly 100 CVS Pharmacy locations will be among the many sites across the country where law enforcement will hold a one-day event to collect unwanted prescription medication. Patients can find a participating medication return location using this location finder tool.

CVS Health is also working to address and prevent prescription drug abuse by increasing access to the opioid-overdose reversal medication naloxone in 43 states. Additionally, through the company's Pharmacists Teach program, CVS pharmacists have volunteered to educate more than 300,000 students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

In September, CVS Health announced an expansion of its enterprise initiatives to fight the opioid abuse epidemic by limiting to seven days the supply of opioids dispensed for certain acute prescriptions for patients who are new to therapy; limiting the daily dosage of opioids dispensed based on the strength of the opioid; and requiring use of immediate-release formulations of opioids before extended release opioids are dispensed.

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