RICHMOND, Va. — CVS Health announced that the company has expanded its safe medication disposal program to select CVS Pharmacy locations in Virginia to help facilitate proper and timely disposal of opioids and other medications that could be diverted or misused if left in medicine cabinets. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, Chesterfield Deputy Chief of Police, Lt. Col. Dan Kelly, addiction specialist Dr. Peter Breslin and McShin Foundation chief executive officer Honesty Brackett Liller attended the launch of the program at a Richmond CVS Pharmacy location.
“Every day, our pharmacy teams see firsthand the impact of the alarming and rapidly growing epidemic of opioid addiction and misuse,” said Thomas Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer, CVS Health. “Expanding our safe medication disposal efforts here in Virginia is an extension of the many initiatives in place across our company to fight the opioid abuse epidemic and fulfill our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”
The 32 new medication disposal units will be installed in CVS Pharmacy locations across the state, supplementing the 64 units CVS Health has donated to local law enforcement departments in Virginia. Nationwide, the company has donated nearly 900 units to police departments, collecting more than 350,000 pounds, or 159 metric tons, of unwanted medication.
“This is an important step in combatting fatal heroin and prescription drug overdoses and provides a safe way for Virginians to get these unused or unwanted drugs out of their homes,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “Many times opioid addiction begins with the medicine cabinet, which is why it is crucial that we dispose of these drugs before they get into the hands of someone who could misuse or abuse them. I want to thank CVS Health for being proactive and I would encourage more pharmacies to install safe drug disposal units across the Commonwealth.”
“Chesterfield County and the Metro Richmond area, like communities across the country, are grappling with the devastating impacts of addiction,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Kelly, deputy chief of support for the Chesterfield CountyPolice Department. “Our department welcomes additional programs to the county as we continuously work, internally and collaboratively with other entities, to reduce the negative consequences of addiction through prevention, education, outreach, and enforcement.”
“Harm reduction is the key pillar in addiction treatment and, with this movement, CVS Health is showing that they truly understand it,” said Dr. Peter Breslin, an addiction medicine specialist in Richmond, VA. “CVS Health understands the seriousness of the opioid epidemic and is taking clear measures to prevent our kids from getting addicted, or even worse, falling victim to an accidental overdose in the home.”
“I am excited to see CVS Health stepping up and taking the initiative to help with this epidemic,” said Honesty Brackett
Liller, chief executive officer, The McShin Foundation. “This is a community problem and we all need to work together to help save lives.”
The new units in Virginia are part of the expansion of 750 safe medication disposal units to CVS Pharmacy locations across the U.S. and other enhancements to the company’s strategy to address and prevent opioid abuse, announced in September 2017. As part of that effort, the company also said it would enhance opioid utilization management aligned with the CDC Guideline for CVS Caremark clients and members, complementing measures already in place. This work builds on ongoing programs the company operates including the Pharmacists Teach program, which brings CVS Pharmacists to local schools to talk to teens and parents about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs. More than 300,000 teens nationally – including nearly 13,000 in Virginia – have already participated in the program. CVS Health has also worked to expand access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone in 46 states, including Virginia.
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