New safes for controlled substances anticipated to help reduce robberies.
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As part of an ongoing commitment to helping build healthier and safer communities, CVS Health announced Tuesday the completed installation of time delay safe technology in all 851 CVS Pharmacy locations, including those in Target stores, across Texas. The company implemented the new safes initially in September at all 223 CVS Pharmacy locations in Houston.
The safes are anticipated to help prevent pharmacy robberies and the potential for associated diversion of controlled substance medications — including opioid medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone — by electronically delaying the time it takes for pharmacy employees to open the safe. In addition, the safes are anticipated to benefit the safety and well-being of CVS Pharmacy customers and employees.
“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, chief policy officer and general counsel, CVS Health. “Time delay safes can help reduce the theft and diversion of opioid medications and bring added security to our stores which creates a safe environment for our patients and colleagues.”
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, the company has introduced time delay safes across 19 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in a 50% decline in robberies at CVS pharmacies in those local communities.
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 across Texas 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. Through its Safe Medication Disposal Program in Texas, for example, the company has installed 252 drug disposal units in select CVS Pharmacy locations and donated 69 units to local police departments in the state. To date, approximately 250,000 pounds of unwanted and expired medication have been collected in Texas.
Presently, the company supports over 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 3 million pounds of unwanted medications that might otherwise have been diverted, misused or ended up in the water supply.
Additionally, CVS Pharmacy locations that do not offer 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 Our 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, our pharmacists have volunteered their time and delivered curriculum to more than 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 U.S. 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 Pharmacists Teach Program together with Dose of Knowledge have impacted more than 1.2 million lives.
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, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. CVS Health has also worked with Google to help people locate naloxone at CVS Pharmacy and other locations in their community using Google’s locator tool.
With its national reach and local presence, CVS Health has been working hard to help address opioid misuse and diversion with an enterprise-wide approach. To learn more about CVS Health’s efforts, visit the company’s Opioid Response website.