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Prevention efforts help support safer communities

May 9, 2024 |4 minute read time

A woman and her child

Substance misuse remains an important matter in the United States.  
Prevention—any activity designed to help avoid substance misuse and reduce its health and social consequences— is an important component of efforts to promote mental health, help prevent substance misuse, and provide treatments and supports to help foster recovery and improve outcomes.  
In support of national prevention efforts, CVS Health® continues to build on initiatives for communities to promote medication safety and education on the misuse of prescription medications and illicit substances, helping to positively impact communities across the country.  

Our commitment to taking a proactive approach to prevention includes multiple programs to reach community members when, where and how they need us.

At school

In 2020, CVS Health and Discovery Education partnered to launch Dose of Knowledge within the already established Pharmacist Teach program. Dose of Knowledge strives to empower educators, pharmacists, parents and other members of the community to address substance misuse and educate children and teens to make good decisions for the health and well-being of themselves and their community.

This no-cost outreach program targets school-aged children in grades K-12, educating them about topics such as substance misuse, medication safety, and mental health through online, interactive resources such as videos, lesson plans and discussion guides.

At home

CVS Health actively participates in helping promote strategies for reducing opioid overdose, including offering harm reduction products, including expanding access to naloxone, a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids, and at-home fentanyl testing.

A key pillar in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Overdose Prevention Strategy, harm reduction is an approach that is part of engaging with people who use drugs and equipping them with life-saving tools and information to create positive change in their lives and potentially save their lives.

Harm reduction products available at CVS Pharmacy®

  • NARCAN® Nasal Spray: Following FDA approval, CVS Pharmacy now offers over-the-counter naloxone, brand name NARCAN® Nasal Spray, at more than 7,500 locations nationwide, making it easier and more discrete than ever to purchase the safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses. Our pharmacy teams can also check a patient’s insurance plan for potential savings on other naloxone products, which remain available without an individual prescription at CVS Pharmacy.

  • Fentanyl test strips: Now available over the counter at CVS Pharmacy stores,, and through the CVS Pharmacy app in 37 states, fentanyl test strips can help prevent drug overdoses and reduce harm, according to the CDC.

In the community

Part of our focus on supporting our communities includes resources for safe medication disposal and technology to support law enforcement. 

  • Medication disposal kiosks: In-store disposal kiosks at CVS Pharmacy accept prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and liquid medication bottles. Items not allowed include illegal drugs (Schedule 1), needles, syringes or sharps containers, medical devices and batteries, aerosol cans and inhalers, chemicals and mercury-containing devices. The secure kiosks are available in 3,900 locations nationwide, located near the pharmacy and are monitored by pharmacists.

  • DisposeRx®: When combined with warm water and added to a pill bottle, DisposeRx® suspends medications in a biodegradable gel, which can be safely discarded at home. DisposeRx® packets are available at select CVS Pharmacy locations and are free of charge to customers and patients for certain prescriptions.

  • Time Delay Safes: In 2023, CVS Health completed the installation of time delay safes in more than 9,000 CVS Pharmacy locations, including those in Target stores. Time delay safe technology helps prevent pharmacy the potential for associated diversion of controlled substance medications by electronically delaying the time it takes for employees to open the pharmacy safe. In addition, the safes can help deter pharmacy robberies, improving the safety and well-being of CVS Pharmacy patients, customers and employees.

Our impact

  • More than 2.5 million students and caregivers reached since Pharmacists Teach and Dose of Knowledge were launched

  • More than 3,900 CVS Pharmacy stores with medication disposal bins

  • More than 7 million pounds of unwanted medication collected from our communities  

  • More than 9,000 CVS Pharmacy locations with time delay safes

Our opioid response

CVS Health remains committed to helping address the abuse and misuse of prescription opioids by collaborating with community leaders, policymakers, law enforcement agents, health care professionals and others to increase community-based educational programs. We continue to create safe prescription drug disposal sites, expand access to life-saving harm reduction medications and advocate for targeted and effective policies, locally and nationally.

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