CVS enhances prescription drug security, disposal

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CVS Health has completed the installation of time-delayed safe technology at all 446 Massachusetts locations as part of its initiatives aimed at reducing the misuse and diversion of prescription medications in Massachusetts, the company announced Thursday.

The safes are intended to prevent robberies of controlled substance medications, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, by electronically delaying the time it takes for pharmacy employees to open the safe where those drugs are stored.

The company also announced that it had added 50 new medication disposal units in select stores throughout Massachusetts. Those units join 106 secure disposal units previously installed at CVS locations across the state and another 43 units previously donated to Massachusetts law enforcement agencies. The company plans to install another six units in stores by the year’s end.

“While our nation and our company focus on COVID-19 treatment, testing, and other measures to prevent community transmission of the virus, the misuse of prescription drugs remains an ongoing challenge in Massachusetts and elsewhere that warrants our continued attention,” said John Hering, Region Director for CVS Health. “These steps to reduce the theft and diversion of opioid medications bring added security to our stores and more disposal options for our communities.”

In 2015, CVS implemented time-delayed safe technology in CVS pharmacies across Indianapolis in response to the high volume of pharmacy robberies in that city. The company saw a 70 percent decline in pharmacy robberies in stores where the time-delayed safes were installed.

Since then, the company has installed 4,760 time-delayed safes in 15 states and the District of Columbia and has seen a 50 percent decline in pharmacy robberies in those areas.

The company said it would add an additional 1,000 in-store medication disposal units to the 2,500 units it currently has in CVS pharmacies nationwide. The units allow customers to drop unused prescriptions into a safe place for their disposal to prevent those drugs from being misused.

CVS stores that do not offer medication disposal units offer all customers filling opioid prescriptions for the first time with DisposeRX packets that effectively and efficiently breakdown unused drugs into a biodegradable gel for safe disposal in the trash at home.

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