CVS Pharmacy, one of the largest healthcare providers and present in over 10,000 communities worldwide has been a significant player in the fight against the opioid crisis. With their new opioid policy, drug administration will be regulated to seven-day increments and lower dose/instant release formulations.
New Policy Plans
The opioid crisis has been stirring for quite some time now, and things are really only getting worse. The death rates for teens and young adults due to overdose and opioid-related complications has steadily increased, and employment rates have simultaneously decreased.
Starting February 2018, The CVS policy will change how drugs are administered within its 10,000 pharmacies nationwide. Drugs will only be prescribed and given for a week’s supply, lowering the number of leftover prescriptions that contribute to drug abuse. The most common cases of overprescribing are with acute medical conditions and minor injuries, where weeks or a full month’s supply are rarely necessary. This policy aims to ensure only the needed amount is given, and secondary extended-release opioids will only be prescribed if the first dose proves to be insufficient.
CVS’s plan will also improve pharmaceutical training and awareness programs, as well as adding in-store opioid disposal units to many of their pharmacies nationwide. The CVS health foundation will invest $2 million to community health centers that provide medical assisted drug treatments, and expand their disposal and collection kiosks by over 800 units in Their initiative is being built around around the concept of access- access to information, disposal units, informed staff members, and proper medical advice.
America’s Leading Service
Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS health said, “As America’s front door to health care, we see firsthand the impact of the alarming and rapidly growing epidemic of opioid addiction and misuse”. He also noted that their plan will “leverage CVS pharmacy’s national presence which manages nearly 90 million plan members”.
Most of us are aware that drug abuse and opioid addiction rates have skyrocketed over the past decade, with many of our own communities suffering through the epidemic. Yet, in the last two decades, opioid prescribing rates from authorized medical profession have increased from 76 million to 207 million. The rates in the United States are four times what they are in Europe and more than 8 times the rate of other places worldwide.
CVS is aware that their efforts alone cannot end the epidemic, but they are putting all their resources together to help as much as they can. Merlo stated, “Without a doubt, addressing our nation’s opioid crisis calls for a multi-pronged effort involving many healthcare stakeholders”. Merlo named a few of these responsible parties as being doctors, dentists, pharmaceutical companies, and the government. CVS aims to use their expansion, investment, and new policies to worth in conjunction with these fields and combat the crisis together.
Is the Opioid Epidemic a Public Responsibility?
CVS stands behind the belief that the opioid crisis is a public health emergency, one that healthcare providers have the duty to stand by and provide for its victims. CVS has partnered with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and is working closely alongside CEO Fred Muench.
“CVS health has long partnered with us to help address prescription drug abuse and we understand the depth of the company’s commitment and the breadth of their ability to respond,” Muench said.
Many healthcare providers, both within the public and private sector, are following in similar footsteps and strengthening their drug epidemic campaigns.The unanimous belief is that although drug addiction does fall on the victim himself, the companies, doctors, and healthcare services who operate in ineffective ways are also responsible. CVS, and many others are working to stop that. Through quality information, funding, access to knowledge and services, and proper administration and disposal of opioid prescriptions, these dedicated health care providers are working to end the epidemic.
How You Can Help
So far CVS has donated more than 800 medication disposal units at police departments in 43 states, educated more than 250,000 teens and young adults on prescription drug use practices and ethics, invested 2 million into health centers to follow suit, and expanded their overdose reversal medication access. If you are one of the 90 million plan members of CVS and want to help fight back, you can donate on their website. Even better, spread the word. If you or someone you know is using prescription drug medications, either properly or not, direct them to these services so they have access to the best resources currently available. Together, we can fight the epidemic.
Recovery Is Possible
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