In October 2017, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. One year later, CVS Health joined several private-sector and nonprofit organizations at the White House to announce commitments to prevent abuse and help the millions of Americans who struggle with opioid addiction daily.
At the event, it was announced that CVS Health would be expanding two of our signature opioid abuse prevention programs: our safe medication disposal program and Pharmacists Teach.
Thomas Moriarty, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer for CVS Health, represented CVS Health at the White House event, which was held on October 24, 2018.
"CVS Health is dedicated to helping the communities we serve address and prevent opioid abuse through our commitment to many different programs and partnerships, including increasing access to safe medication disposal and youth opioid abuse prevention education," said Moriarty. "We have seen firsthand the impact our efforts have already made and we are excited to expand and enhance these initiatives even further."
Preventing Medication Diversion and Abuse
With a presence in nearly 10,000 communities across the country, CVS Health understands the importance of addressing the opioid epidemic at the local level, with local solutions.
The expansion of our safe medication disposal program will help to further prevent medications from being diverted from those with a legitimate prescription.
At the White House event, we committed to placing 1,100 additional disposal units in CVS Pharmacy locations and local police departments by the end of next year.
CVS Health has already installed safe medication disposal units in more than 750 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide and has donated more than 900 additional units to community locations such as police departments. Together, these units have collected more than 217 metric tons, or 480,000 pounds, of unwanted medication.
Opioid Abuse Education for All Ages
The other component of our White House commitment was the expansion of our Pharmacists Teach program to reach an additional 250,000 students and parents by the end of next year. The program has already educated more than 400,000 students and parents about the dangers of prescription opioid abuse.
Through this program, CVS pharmacists visit local schools in their community to talk to students and parents about the dangers of misusing prescription drugs using a curriculum developed by CVS Health together with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
Our Ongoing Efforts
Safe disposal options and youth education are just two components of our ongoing, enterprise-wide commitment to help address the abuse and misuse of opioids nationwide.
Other efforts include:
An industry-leading program to increase access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone in 48 states.
Enhanced counseling, aligned with CDC guidelines, for CVS Pharmacy patients new to an opioid prescription.
CVS Caremark, our pharmacy benefit management (PBM) business, has implemented criteria to help adopting clients manage opioid utilization in a manner consistent with the Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Enhanced support for addiction recovery programs, including grants to 21 community health centers across the U.S. that deliver medication-assisted treatment and other addiction recovery services.
For more information about our efforts in the fight against opioid abuse, visit Our Commitment to Fight Opioid Abuse and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.