Everybody knows that taking someone else’s prescription medication is risky. Yet, the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration has reported that, in 2017 alone, about 6 million Americans swallowed opioids originally prescribed for a friend, neighbor, or relative—often taken from someone’s home medicine cabinet.
That statistic inspired CVS Health to start a program that encourages people to get rid of unused medications safely. Walk into any one of 1,670 CVS stores nationwide now, and you’ll see a large white box with a red instruction label and mailbox-like slot where shoppers can drop off any drug they no longer need.
The company has also donated more than 900 deposit boxes to local community groups and government agencies. CVS says, these units have kept more than 480,000 pounds or tk dosages of prescription drugs from ending up in the wrong hands.
CVS has made other changes, too, including stocking supplies of the anti-overdose drug naloxone behind its pharmacy counters in 48 states, no prescription required. At the same time, through a program called “Pharmacists Teach,” CVS pharmacy employees have been specially trained to share their knowledge about the risks of opioids with customers who have been prescribed the drugs. In the first six months after the program launched in 2018, CVS pharmacists counseled nearly three million patients on using opioids safely. To find out more about the CVS program click here.