WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Pharmacy announced Monday that it has completed the rollout of time delay safes in all of its 318 CVS Pharmacy locations in Michigan, including pharmacies located in Target stores. The safes are anticipated to help prevent pharmacy robberies and the diversion of controlled substance narcotic medications by keeping them out of the hands of unauthorized individuals. In addition, the safes are anticipated to help CVS Pharmacy ensure the safety and well-being of its customers and employees.
CVS Pharmacy expects these time delay safes to help deter pharmacy robberies – including those involving opioid medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone – by electronically delaying the time it takes for pharmacy employees to be able to open the safe. CVS Pharmacy first implemented time delay safes in Indianapolis, a city experiencing at the time a high volume of pharmacy robberies, in 2015. The company saw a 70 percent decline in pharmacy robberies among the Indianapolis stores where the time delay safes had been installed.
“Pharmacy robberies are a challenging issue for every pharmacy and we are committed to doing all we can to reduce the number of incidents in our Michigan stores,” said Betsy Ferguson, senior vice president and deputy counsel, for CVS Health during an event today at a CVS Pharmacy in suburban Detroit. “We have seen that time delay safes, combined with other security policies and procedures in place at our stores, can greatly reduce these incidents and are pleased to roll out this enhanced security measure. These safes will help ensure that our pharmacies remain 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 with time delay safes display visible signage warning that time delay safes are in use to prevent on-demand access to controlled substance narcotics.
“I am pleased to join CVS Health today in announcing the installation of time delay safes in all of their pharmacies across our state,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “The opioid epidemic has hit Michigan especially hard, as it has so many other states, and our communities are working to fight this growing problem each and every day. An important way to do so is to ensure that medications are kept out of the wrong hands and these safes will help do just that.”
The implementation of time delay safes across all CVS Pharmacy locations in Michigan are among numerous measures that the company has put in place to help combat prescription drug abuse and misuse in the state. CVS Pharmacy’s commitment to helping prevent and address prescription drug misuse extends to community education, efforts to encourage safe disposal of unused medication and increasing access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone. The company’s Pharmacists Teach program brings CVS pharmacists to schools across the country to talk to students and parents about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. More than 500,000 students across the country, including over 29,000 in Michigan, have participated in the program.
CVS Health has also completed installation of 16 safe medication disposal units in CVS Pharmacy stores in Michigan, in addition to the 20 units it has donated to Michigan law enforcement agencies. Nationwide, more than 1,100 safe medication disposal units have been installed in CVS Pharmacy locations, adding to the 957 units the company has donated to law enforcement agencies. Through this national effort, the company has collected more than 828,000 pounds, or 376 metric tons of unwanted medication, including more than 15,000 pounds, or nearly 7 metric tons in Michigan alone. Increasing community access to safe medication disposal helps rid homes of unused medications that could otherwise be diverted, abused or contaminate the water supply if disposed of improperly.
Additionally, CVS Pharmacy has worked with 48 states – including Michigan – and Washington, DC to increase access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone, also known as Narcan. Patients can obtain this potentially life-saving medication, which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, without an individual prescription in these states.