WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health announced that it has begun using time delay safes in all of its 329 stores in Ohio, including pharmacies in Cleveland, Akronand Toledo. The safes help prevent pharmacy robberies and combat the ongoing opioid epidemic by keeping controlled substance narcotic medications from being misused or abused by keeping them out of the hands of unauthorized individuals. In addition, the safes will help CVS Pharmacy ensure the safety and well-being of its customers and employees.
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 Ohio. Time delay safes help deter pharmacy robberies by electronically delaying the time it takes for pharmacy employees to be able to open the safe. In 2017, stores in Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton began using time delay safes. Since those safes were installed, CVS Pharmacy has seen a 50 percent drop in pharmacy robberies in those markets.
“The installation of time delay safes at pharmacies in several of our Ohio markets has proven to be a deterrent for pharmacy robbers,” said Alisa Ulrey, division vice president of CVS Pharmacy in Ohio. “We know that time delay safes, combined with other security policies and procedures in place at our stores, have drastically reduced robberies in our pharmacies and we are pleased to be able to implement them in all of our Ohio stores.”
“The battle against the opiate epidemic continues locally and across the state of Ohio. The fight isn’t over,” explained Sheriff George Maier. “But, with each new resource and each new partnership developed we take another step towards victory. I commend CVS for answering the call to action and playing a role in the ongoing effort to create safer communities.”
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 are displaying 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 Ohio is the latest in a series of measures put in place by CVS Health to help combat prescription drug abuse in the state of Ohio. CVS Health’s commitment to preventing and addressing prescription drug abuse also includes 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 about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. More than 400,000 students across the country, including more than 15,000 in Ohio, have participated in the program.
CVS Health has also completed installation of 29 safe medication disposal units in CVS Pharmacy stores in Ohio, in addition to the 38 units it has donated to Ohio 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 18,000 pounds, or more than eight metric tons in Ohio 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 Ohio 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.