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CVS Caremark launches national medication disposal program

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — In recognition of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day being held Oct. 26, CVS/pharmacy has launched the CVS/pharmacy Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program.

The new program is designed to provide police departments across the country with an easy way to team up with CVS/pharmacy locations in their area to hold National Drug Take Back Day events or to help raise community awareness of local drug disposal programs managed by law enforcement.

"We recognize the importance of removing unused, unwanted and expired medications from our communities in a safe and environmentally responsible manner in order to prevent abuse and misuse of these drugs," stated Josh Flum, SVP of retail pharmacy at CVS/pharmacy. "Many CVS stores across the country will be hosting local police at Drug Take Back Day events this Saturday. As part of our new Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program, we are making our store sites available nationwide to law enforcement agencies to hold Drug Take Back events. Additionally, our stores are well positioned to help promote awareness of permanent collection site programs run by law enforcement agencies at their police stations and other facilities."

CVS/pharmacy has established a toll-free phone number, (866) 559-8830, and a website, cvs.com/safercommunities, for its Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program. Law enforcement agencies can use these channels to arrange future National Drug Take Back Day events at their local CVS/pharmacy locations. Law enforcement agencies that operate their own ongoing collection site programs can also arrange to have the address and hours of operations posted in local CVS/pharmacy locations.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day was established in 2010 by the Drug Enforcement Administration, in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies across the country. The events are held twice each year, in the spring and fall, at thousands of locations in the United States. Since inception, more than 2.8 million pounds of unneeded medications have been collected and destroyed, helping to prevent diversion, misuse and abuse.

CVS/pharmacy's participation in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and the new CVS/pharmacy Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program is part of the company's ongoing commitment to combat prescription drug abuse. This commitment also includes:

  • Being the only retail pharmacy sponsor of the Medicine Abuse Program, a multi-year initiative of The Partnership at Drugfree.org with the goal of preventing a half million teenagers from abusing prescription medication by the year 2017;
  • The Sharps Compliance Takeaway Environmental Return program available at all CVS/pharmacy locations, providing customers with the ability to safely dispose of their unused, expired or unwanted drugs using affordable medication disposal envelopes. The postage-paid envelopes allow customers to mail their unwanted prescription and OTC medications through the U.S. Postal Service to a licensed, secure facility for safe destruction. (Controlled substances cannot be disposed of using this program.);
  • Ongoing identification of physicians who exhibit extreme patterns of prescribing such high-risk drugs as pain medications and suspending the dispensing of controlled substance prescriptions they write; and
  • Working 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.

"Our efforts to prevent medication abuse are helping our communities on their path to better health, but we realize that our initiatives are not a comprehensive solution," Flum said. "Defeating the epidemic of prescription drug abuse will require the active involvement of stakeholders throughout the healthcare community, as well as law enforcement and regulatory agencies. CVS/pharmacy is committed to being part of the solution to this problem."

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