CVS expands safe medication disposal options

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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A drugstore giant is rolling out self-service medication disposal kiosks in Massachusetts and beyond.

CVS has completed installation of safe medication disposal kiosks at every store in Massachusetts. This includes kiosks the retailer recently implemented at 56 stores, as well as 43 in-store units previously installed and 43 units donated to local law enforcement. The retailer has also committed to install an additional 1,000 drug disposal kiosks in select CVS locations across the country and donate up to 400 units to law enforcement in 2020.

To date, 1,700 CVS store locations nationwide have installed safe medication disposal kiosks, and the company has donated more than 990 kiosks to law enforcement. These kiosks have collected more than 1.1 million pounds of unwanted or expired medications, including 57,000 pounds in Massachusetts alone.

In addition, beginning in 2020, all CVS locations that don't currently offer a safe medication disposal kiosk will now offer DisposeRx, a solution that enables customers to safely discard their unwanted or expired medications at home. New and existing patients filling prescriptions can request a free DisposeRx packet and opioid safety information brochure when picking up their prescription at any time.

DisposeRx packets, according to the manufacturer, contain proprietary solidifying materials that enable safe at-home disposal of unused medication. When water and the DisposeRx powder are added to unwanted medications in the prescription vial and shaken, the drugs are rendered unusable, allowing for safe disposal at home.

"When patients leave unused medications – especially opioids – in a medicine cabinet, there is a risk that those medications might be misused or diverted, which is why we have worked to help increase access to and awareness of safe medication disposal options in the communities we serve," said Tom Davis, VP of pharmacy professional services, CVS Health. "Providing more options for the proper disposal of unused medications in our stores and in the home is just one of the ways we're working to help combat opioid misuse across the country."

On Saturday, Oct. 26, nearly 100 CVS stores across the country will participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, October 26, a biannual event hosted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Stores will host drug take-back events and offer information on the safe disposal of unwanted medication. 

CVS operates more than 9,800 retail locations and more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics across the U.S.