In an effort to combat the state’s opioid epidemic, Attorney General Andy Beshear and CVS Health teamed up today to launch new safe medication disposal programs in Kentucky.
Beshear joined CVS Health’s Thomas M. Moriarty, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, State Representative George Brown Jr., Police Chief Lawrence Weathers and Sharon Tankersley with Voices of Hope to urge Kentuckians to clean out their medicine cabinets and dispose of unused prescription drugs at a CVS Pharmacy.
In-store disposal units, now in nine 24-hour CVS Pharmacy locations allow Kentuckians to properly dispose of dangerous opioids and help reduce the nearly 80 percent of heroin users who begin their addiction with prescription drugs.
“One of the most dangerous places in a home is a medicine cabinet with unused opioids,” Beshear said. “Thanks to this initiative, many Kentuckians now have a convenient way to make their home safer and stop addiction before it starts by safely disposing of drugs at their local pharmacy.”
“CVS Health is dedicated to addressing and preventing opioid abuse in the communities we serve in Kentucky and across the country,” said Thomas M. Moriarty, executive vice president, chief policy and external affairs officer, and general counsel, CVS Health. “Expanding our safe medication disposal program to CVS Pharmacy locations in Kentucky is one of the many initiatives we support to fulfill that commitment and our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”
Two of the new units are located at the Harrodsburg and Todds road CVS Pharmacy stores in Lexington, and in seven stores in Elizabethtown, Frankfort, Georgetown, Louisville and Paducah. In total, CVS Health will install units in 750 CVS Pharmacy locations across the U.S.
“Today we’re talking about a step everyone can take to help stem the opioid epidemic,” Mayor Gray said. “If you have unneeded medications in your medicine cabinet, dispose of them properly and safely. Keeping them can expose your family to unnecessary risks.”
“For many Kentuckians, opioid addiction starts with prescription pills,” Rep. Brown said. “We all know how tough it can be to overcome addiction, so I commend CVS Health and Attorney General Beshear for stepping up to help reduce the rate of new addiction by offering folks all across the Commonwealth new and easy ways to dispose of unused and dangerous opioids.”
“Each year Lexington Police collects more than a ton of unwanted and expired medication through a drop box at police headquarters and through our prescription take-back events in April and October,” Chief Weathers said. “So, the need is there. These CVS in-store disposal units will help meet that in a way that is convenient for residents all over Lexington.”
Sharon Tankersley, executive director of Voices of Hope an addiction recover center in Lexington said, “Safe disposal of unused medications is an important way that everyone can help in reducing accidental poisoning, misuse or even overdose death. We all have a role to play to help those who have struggled to heal from this disease.”
CVS Health also offers a community donation program, which invites local law enforcement to apply to receive a drug collection unit for their community. In Kentucky, the company has donated units in Campbellsville, Georgetown, Flatwoods, Frankfort, Madisonville, Maysville, Murray, Vanceburg and Wilmore.
Through CVS Health’s Pharmacist Teach, CVS pharmacists have taught more than 2,000 students in Kentucky about the dangers of opioid abuse.
Since taking office, Beshear has made tackling the state’s opioid epidemic a core mission for his office and recently launched the state’s first initiative to allow Kentuckians to safely dispose of opioid medications at home.
Beshear’s Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program has the potential to dispose of more than 2.2 million unused opioids.
The pilot program includes Floyd, Henderson, McCracken and Perry counties, as well as the Green River Area Development District, Hardin County Sherriff Office, Johnson County Public Schools and Powell County Sheriff Office. Beshear’s Office of Senior Protection is also working with the faith-based community to distribute the pouches at senior events.