CVS Pharmacy issued the following announcement on Oct. 16.
CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), announced that it has completed the rollout of time delay safes in all of its 228 CVS Pharmacy locations in Maryland. The safes will help prevent pharmacy robberies and combat the ongoing opioid epidemic by helping to prevent diversion of controlled substance narcotic medications 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 in the state of Maryland. 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 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 pharmacy robbery incidents in our Maryland stores," said Roger Francis, Division Vice President of CVS Pharmacy in Maryland. "In other parts of the country 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. We are pleased to roll out time delay safes here in Maryland to 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 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 all CVS Pharmacy locations in Maryland 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 5,600 in Maryland, have participated in the program.
CVS Health has also completed installation of 19 safe medication disposal units in CVS Pharmacy stores in Maryland, in addition to the three units it has donated to Maryland 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 2017 metric tons of unwanted medication, including more than 6,000 pounds, or nearly three metric tons in Maryland 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 Maryland 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.
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