CVS is putting containers in its retail stores where people can dispose of unused prescription drugs as a way to fight an opioid epidemic that has killed thousands of people across the country.
The containers are designed to get unused opioids out of people’s houses, CVS officials said in announcing the initiative Thursday. People addicted to opioids sometimes get the drugs from the medicine cabinets of families and friends without their knowledge.
The containers will be placed in 750 stores, including 19 in Maryland. CVS Health also donated disposal kiosks to Maryland police departments in Hampstead, Ellicott City and Rising Sun.
“Launching our in-store safe medication disposal program at CVS Pharmacy locations in Maryland will help remove unused prescription medications from medicine cabinets where they could be otherwise diverted or abused,” said Tom Davis, vice president of professional services for CVS Health, in a statement. “We are committed to addressing and preventing opioid abuse through our support of the work that organizations like Total Health Care do to promote addiction recovery, which directly aligns with our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”
The placement of the containers is part of an opioid initiative the pharmacy and retailer announced last year.
The CVS Health Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the retailer, is also giving a $85,000 grant to Total Health Care, a nonprofit chain of community health care centers that provides substance abuse services. The money will be used for programs that track the way people’s traumatic experiences contribute to their substance-abuse problems. The health care centers are also incorporating alerts into an electronic records system to better track if patients are coming to their appointments.
The disposal containers will be located at stores in Annapolis, Baltimore, Clinton, Crofton, District Heights, Elkridge, Ellicott City, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt, Hollywood, Kensington, La Plata, Laurel, North Potomac, Olney, Pasadena, Rockville and Towson.