CVS Health issued the following announcement on Oct. 25.
CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) and Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart today announced a joint effort to raise consumer awareness about the importance of safe medication disposal.
Approximately 150 CVS Pharmacy locations in Cook County will now provide patients with information about the Sheriff's Prescription Drug Take Back Program on packaging that accompanies the prescription. The information will help patients find their nearest safe disposal location.
Sheriff Dart joined CVS Pharmacy District Leader Pooja Patel, Pharm.D., at a CVS Pharmacy in Oak Park, Ill. today to highlight the importance of safe disposal in protecting the environment and preventing drug abuse and accidental poisoning. The announcement came in advance of Saturday's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
"CVS Health is dedicated to helping address and prevent prescription drug abuse and misuse, which is why we have worked to increase access to and awareness of safe medication disposal options in the communities we serve," said Tom Davis, R.Ph., Vice President of Professional Services for CVS Pharmacy. "Unused medications, especially opioids, should not be left in medicine cabinets where they could be at risk of misuse or diversion. We are proud to partner with Sheriff Dart to raise awareness of safe disposal and we look forward to adding to our collection totals this weekend on Take-Back Day."
"This partnership will help ensure more prescription drugs are safely disposed and not available for abuse," said Sheriff Dart. "In the midst of the unrelenting opioid crisis, this is an important step that can help ensure potentially dangerous prescriptions do not end up in the wrong hands."
The Sheriff's Prescription Drug Take Back Program began in 2012 and currently collects nearly 2,000 pounds of unused pharmaceuticals per month via 80 sites throughout the county. Additionally, CVS Health has installed year-round safe medication disposal units in 45 CVS Pharmacy locations and 33 local police departments in Illinois to further increase community access to safe and convenient locations to properly dispose of unwanted medications. Together, these units have already collected more than seven metric tons, or 15,600 pounds, of unwanted medication.
According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescriptions and often obtained them from family and friends. In-home medicine cabinets are often the source of diverted prescriptions, making it critical for patients to properly dispose of unused prescriptions in a timely manner.
Consumers can access the Sheriff's Prescription Drug Take Back Program to find a safe, convenient disposal location by visiting www.cookcountysheriff.org or calling 1-844-688-7379. Additionally, sites in Cook County and across the country can be found by using the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Collection Site Locator.
In addition to assisting with safe medication disposal, CVS Health is also working to combat opioid abuse by increasing access to the opioid overdose drug naloxone. CVS Pharmacy locations in 48 states, including Illinois, have standing orders, or similar protocols, which allow patients to obtain this medication without an individual prescription. CVS Health has also focused on opioid abuse prevention through the company's Pharmacists Teach program. This program connects CVS pharmacists to local schools to talk with students and parents about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs, using a curriculum CVS Health developed with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. Nearly 7,000 students and parents in Illinois have participated in the program.
As a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM), CVS Health offers programs to help its clients reduce opioid utilization for members when clinically appropriate. CVS Health also provides enhanced retail pharmacist-led patient counseling on safe prescription opioid use. These programs align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.
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