CVS Pharmacy completes rollout of time-delay safes in its Minnesota pharmacies

CVS Pharmacy announced it has completed the rollout of time-delay safes in all of its 140 CVS Pharmacy locations in Minnesota, including those in Target stores.

The safes are anticipated to help prevent pharmacy robberies and the diversion of controlled substance narcotic medications by keeping them out of the hands of unauthorized individuals, the company said.

CVS Pharmacy said it anticipates the safes will help deter pharmacy robberies including those involving such opioid medications as oxycodone and hydrocodone by electronically delaying the time it takes for pharmacy employees to be able to open the safe. CVS Pharmacy first implemented time-delay safes in Indianapolis, a city experiencing a high volume of pharmacy robberies, in 2015. The company saw a 70% decline in pharmacy robberies among the Indianapolis stores where the time delay safes had been installed.3

"Pharmacy robberies are a challenging issue for every pharmacy and we are committed to doing all we can to reduce the number of incidents in our Minnesota stores," Ashlee Slocum, district leader, CVS Pharmacy said, during an event this week with a delegation of Minnesota officials at a CVS Pharmacy in St. Paul. "We have seen that time-delay safes, combined with other security policies and procedures in place at our stores, can greatly reduce these incidents and are pleased to roll out this enhanced security measure. These safes will help ensure that our pharmacies remain 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 with time delay safes display visible signage warning that time delay safes are in use to prevent on-demand access to controlled substance narcotics.

"Abuse of prescription painkillers and other medication is a significant crime factor in Ramsey County. From time to time, pharmacies are targeted," Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, said. "The use of smart technology, like that being displayed today, to help prevent thefts, burglaries and robberies enhances the safety of us all."

In addition to the time-delay safes, CVS Pharmacy’s other opioid abuse-prevention efforts include community education, efforts to encourage safe disposal of unused medication and increasing access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone. The company’s Pharmacists Teach program has educated more than 490,000 students, including 1,200 in Minnesota about the dangers of misusing prescription drugs. It also has installed six medication disposal units in Minnesota stores, as well as donated 15 units to Minnesota law enforcement agencies. Nationwide, 1,029 safe medication disposal units have been installed in CVS Pharmacy locations, adding to the 950 units the company has donated to law enforcement agencies. The units have collected more than 791,000 pounds of medication, including 5 metric tons in Minnesota.

Additionally, CVS Pharmacy has worked with 48 states including Minnesota and Washington, D.C. to increase access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone, also known as Narcan. Today, all CVS Pharmacy locations have in-store signage to inform patients about the availability and accessibility of the potentially life-saving drug.