WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As part of an ongoing commitment to helping build healthier and safer communities, CVS Health announced that it has completed installation of time delay safe technology in all 355 Georgia CVS Pharmacy locations, including those in Target stores. 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.
“As the opioid epidemic — which has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic — continues to impact all 159 Georgia counties, we must think of innovative solutions to stop criminal behavior and protect Georgians,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “The newly-implemented time delay safes will help protect those behind the counter and prevent medication from getting into the wrong hands. I commend the leadership of CVS Pharmacy for installing this technology that will act as a deterrent for criminals and will stop diversion from stores.”
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 percent 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 18 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in a 50 percent decline in robberies at CVS pharmacies in those local communities.
“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 reduce the theft and diversion of opioid medications and brings added security to our stores which creates 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 in Georgia 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 Georgia, for example, the company has installed 135 drug disposal units in select CVS Pharmacy locations and donated 37 units to local police departments in the state. To date, there has been 63,000 pounds of unwanted and expired medication collected in Georgia.
Presently, the company supports nearly 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 2.5 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.
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 nearly 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.
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.