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CVS adds time delay safes to all Pennsylvania pharmacies

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Pharmacy announced Tuesday that it has completed the rollout of time delay safes in all of its 512 CVS Pharmacy locations in Pennsylvania, including pharmacies located in Target stores. The safes are anticipated to help prevent pharmacy robberies and the resulting diversion of controlled substance medications. In addition, the safes are anticipated to help CVS Pharmacy ensure the safety and well-being of its customers and employees.

CVS Pharmacy locations now feature signs notifying customers about the chain’s time-delay safe technology to help deter pharmacy robberies and diversion of controlled substance narcotic medications.

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 Pennsylvania stores,” said Thomas  Moriarty, executive vice president and chief external affairs Officer for CVS Health during an event today at a CVS Pharmacy in Philadelphia. “We have seen that time delay safes, combined with other security policies and procedures in place at our stores, can greatly reduce these incidents. We are pleased to roll out this enhanced security measure as 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.

“The heroin, fentanyl, and opioid epidemic is devastating our communities, with 12 Pennsylvanians losing their lives to drug overdose each day,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Prescription drug abuse is fueling this public health and public safety crisis—4 out of every 5 heroin users start with prescription drugs. I’m grateful to CVS Pharmacy for recognizing the responsibility that we all have in combatting this epidemic. Thanks to their hard work, we can prevent medications from ending up in the hands of someone who might abuse them.”

CVS Health also announced a $20,000 grant to the student-led Health Outreach Project at the Drexel UniversityCollege of Medicine. The grant will accelerate naloxone distribution and overdose reversal and prevention training through the purchase of critically needed doses of naloxone for distribution. The grant will also help expand training to volunteers who will be trained to provide education to community members on overdose recognition, utilization of naloxone, and general principles of harm reduction.

CVS Pharmacy’s commitment to helping prevent and address prescription drug misuse extends to utilization management, community education, efforts to encourage safe disposal of unused medication and increasing access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone.

Through CVS Caremark, the company is helping clients reduce opioid utilization through coverage limits aligned with the CDC’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. To date, for clients adopting this utilization management criteria, the number of prescriptions covered for more than a 7-day supply decreased by 71.9 percent.

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 30,000 in Pennsylvania, have participated in the program.

CVS Health operates 106 safe medication disposal units in CVS Pharmacy stores across Pennsylvania, and has donated 135 units to Pennsylvania law enforcement. Nationwide, more than 1,300 safe medication disposal units have been installed in CVS Pharmacy locations, adding to the 979 units the company has donated to law enforcement agencies. Through this national effort, the company has collected more than 900,000 pounds, or 408 metric tons of unwanted medication, including more than 41,000 pounds, or nearly 19 metric tons in Pennsylvaniaalone. Increasing community access to more safe medication disposal options 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 Pennsylvania – 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.


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