Joining the Fight Against Prescription Drug Abuse

CVS Health is taking steps to combat prescription drug abuse.

Each day, our pharmacists are busy helping people on their path to better health, and that includes dispensing prescription medications that help patients fight pain, sleep more soundly and overcome anxiety. But when these drugs are abused, the consequences can be deadly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44 people die in the United States each day from an overdose of prescription painkillers.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Vital Statistics System mortality data. (2015) Available from URL: Unfortunately, even more become addicted. Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions in our country, but CVS Health is working to change that.

Empowered Pharmacists

Our pharmacists are obligated to refuse to fill prescriptions they feel are not being used for legitimate medical purposes. They take this responsibility seriously, and exercise it judiciously on behalf of patients, their family members and the community.

Proactive Steps

In dozens of states, CVS Pharmacy can dispense naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication, to patients and caregivers without a prescription, pursuant to a standing order from a physician or collaborative practice agreement. Additional states will be added over time.

Pharmacists Teach connects health education classes with the unique perspective pharmacists can offer to encourage students to understand the dangers of prescription drug abuse and to remember that one choice can change everything in their lives. High school teachers and administrators can contact us to request to participate in the program here.

CVS Pharmacy has also teamed up with The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to create an innovative community donation program through which local police departments can apply to receive a drug collection unit to help their communities safely dispose of unwanted medications, including controlled substances.

Law enforcement drug collection programs help rid communities of unwanted medications that may otherwise be diverted, abused or contaminate our water supply. Local law enforcement officials can learn more about the program and apply to receive a drug collection unit here.

Other Measures

CVS Health is taking additional steps to help reduce prescription drug abuse, including:

  • Identification of physicians who exhibit extreme patterns of prescribing high-risk drugs such as pain medications and suspension of dispensing their controlled substance prescriptions.

  • Advocating at the federal and state levels to implement policy changes to curb prescription drug abuse, such as mandatory electronic prescribing of controlled substances and improved prescription drug monitoring programs.

The following links provide additional resources regarding our controlled substance abuse prevention efforts.

The Medicine Abuse Project - A groundbreaking initiative spearheaded by The PartnershipTM at is tackling teenage prescription drug abuse.

A Conversation With Papatya Tankut About Prescription Drug Abuse - Papatya Tankut, CVS Pharmacy Vice President of Pharmacy Affairs, discusses the roles our pharmacists and company play in deterring prescription drug abuse.

Working Together to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse - From pharmacy policies to political lobbying, CVS Health is taking action to prevent prescription drug abuse.

Prescription Stimulant Abuse - A look at why teens abuse prescription drugs and how the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids can help.