CVS urges safe dispose of prescription drugs

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Events planned for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day October 27.

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health  is encouraging consumers to clean out their medicine cabinets and safely dispose of unused prescription medication on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, this October 27. CVS Health has installed safe medication disposal units in more than 750 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide and has donated more than 900 additional units to community locations such as police departments.  Together, these units have collected more than 217 metric tons, or 480,000 pounds, of unwanted medication. Additionally, on October 27, nearly 100 CVS Pharmacy locations will join other community sites around the country to host law enforcement take-back events, allowing the public to safely dispose of unwanted medication. National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is hosted biannually by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to provide an opportunity for Americans to help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths.

“CVS Health is dedicated to helping address and prevent prescription drug abuse and misuse, which is why we have worked to increase access to and awareness of safe medication disposal options in the communities we serve,” said Tom Davis, vice president of Professional Services for CVS Pharmacy.  “Unused medications, especially opioids, should not be left in medicine cabinets where they could be at risk of misuse or diversion. We are proud to have supported the collection of more than 480,000 pounds of unwanted medication to date, getting it out of homes and disposed of safely, and we are looking forward to adding to that achievement.”

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescriptions and often obtained them from family and friends. In-home medicine cabinets are often the source of diverted prescriptions, making it critical for patients to properly dispose of unused prescriptions in a timely manner to prevent prescription misuse and diversion.

In addition to promoting safe medication disposal, the company is also working to combat the opioid epidemic by increasing access to the opioid overdose drug naloxone. CVS Pharmacy locations in 48 states have standing orders, or similar protocol, which allow patients to obtain this medication without an individual prescription. CVS Health has also focused on opioid abuse prevention through the company’s Pharmacists Teach program. This program connects CVS pharmacists to local schools to talk with students and parents about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs, using a curriculum CVS Health developed with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.  More than 400,000 students and parents nationwide have participated in the program.

Additionally, as a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) and a retail pharmacy, CVS Health has implemented programs to help its clients reduce opioid utilization for members when clinically appropriate and strengthened retail pharmacist-led patient counseling on safe opioid use. These programs align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.


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