Controlled substance narcotic medications that are sought after by robbers, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, are now stored in time delay safes in every CVS Pharmacy store in the state of California. Time delay safes help deter pharmacy robberies 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 a high volume of pharmacy robberies, in 2016. The company saw a 70% 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 pharmacy robbery incidents in our California stores,” said Hank Casillas, division vice president of CVS Pharmacy in California. “We have seen that time delay safes, combined with the 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 stores remain a safe environment for our patients and colleagues.”
“Combating the opioid crisis requires multiple different actions. Increasing education, promoting safe prescribing practices and preventing diversion of these pills for illicit use are some of the most efficient methods to address this epidemic. CVS Health was one of the first to embrace a 7-day quantity restriction on opioids and once again, they’ve proven themselves to be on the forefront of this battle, by installing time-delay safes in their pharmacies,” said California State Assembly Member Autumn Burke. “I applaud CVS Health for their leadership and taking this important step. By preventing access to those intent on distributing these pills illegally, many lives will be saved.”
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 stores with time delay safes display highly-visible signage to inform the public that time delay safes are in use to prevent on-demand access to controlled substance narcotics.
The implementation of time delay safes across CVS Pharmacy stores in California is the latest in a series of measures put in place by CVS Health to help combat prescription drug abuse in the state. CVS Health’s commitment to preventing and addressing prescription drug abuse 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 405,000 students across the country, including more than 65,000 in California, have participated in the program.
CVS Health has also completed installation of 62 safe medication disposal units in CVS Pharmacy stores in California, in addition to the 21 units it has donated to California law enforcement agencies. Nationwide, 750 safe medication disposal units have been installed in CVS Pharmacy locations, adding to the more than 900 units the company has donated to law enforcement agencies. In total, the company has facilitated more than 1,650 units nationwide, which have collected more than 480,000 pounds, or 217 metric tons of unwanted medication, including more than 28,000 pounds, or more than 13 metric tons in California 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 Health has worked with 48 states – including California – to increase access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone, also known as Narcan. Patients can obtain this life-saving medication, which is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses, without an individual prescription in these states.