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CVS, Walgreens facilitate safe disposal of unused Rxs

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NEW YORK — Initiatives from CVS Health and Walgreens to collect unused medications have produced dramatic results, the companies ­announced.

They reported the results ahead of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day late last month. Sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the event aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

Launched in 2014, CVS’ Medication Disposal for Safer Communities program has donated 626 drug disposal kiosks to police departments in 42 states, collecting more than 47 metric tons of unwanted medication. In conjunction with Take Back Day, more than 130 CVS Pharmacy stores hosted events managed by local law enforcement agencies across the country, bringing the total number of take-back events hosted by CVS since 2013 to more than 800.

And the company is launching a new online tool as part of the drug abuse prevention resources on CVS.com that allows visitors to search by ZIP code to find a safe medication disposal location near them that is accessible year-round.

“Safe drug disposal is an important priority for CVS Health because of the critical role it plays in helping to combat the opioid abuse epidemic that is challenging so many communities around the country,” said Tom Davis, vice president of pharmacy professional practices at CVS Pharmacy.

The drug disposal units donated by CVS have collected more than 100,000 pounds of unwanted medication, he said.

The CVS Health Medication Disposal for Safer Communities program is a community partnership that allows local police departments to apply to receive a drug collection unit to help their communities safely dispose of unwanted medications, including controlled substances. Through the program, CVS Health works with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to provide drug collection units that help rid communities of unwanted medications that may otherwise be diverted, abused or contaminate water supplies.

“As a proud partner of the Medication Disposal for Safer Communities program, we have seen CVS Health’s long track record of making safe drug disposal a priority,” said Marcia Lee Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “The tens of thousands of pounds of unwanted medication collected as part of the Safer Communities program truly has a critical impact on preventing drug diversion and abuse for families across the country.”

Walgreens has reached its goal of installing more than 500 safe medication disposal kiosks this year at pharmacies in 35 states and Washington, D.C. The program, announced in February, was to expand to two additional states, Nevada and Maryland, by early this month.

Since the installation began, more than 10 tons of medication have been collected and safely disposed. The kiosks provide a year-round, safe and convenient way to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions, including controlled substances, and over-the-counter medications, at no cost.

Safe medication disposal kiosks are available during regular pharmacy hours (24 hours a day at most kiosk locations) and offer one of the best ways to ensure medications are not accidentally used or intentionally misused by someone else.

In addition to offering year-round disposal, Walgreens continues to participate in DEA-sponsored take-back days, serving as a collection point in communities for law enforcement to collect unwanted, unused or expired medications for safe disposal.


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