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Our opioid response strategy

April 04, 2019 | Pharmacy

Our expansive reach, expertise and access to local communities has uniquely positioned us to help address prescription misuse and abuse with an enterprise-wide approach. In 2018, we continued to expand our efforts through a variety of programs and initiatives, including education, safe prescription drug disposal, advocacy and collaboration with partners.


To learn more about our efforts to address opioid misuse and abuse, read our 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report or visit Our Opioid Response.


Our community commitments

Through our company and the CVS Health and Aetna Foundations, we make strategic investments to support health care access in local communities, including work to mitigate and prevent prescription drug abuse.

Our community-level work in 2018 included:

  • Continued partnership between CVS Health Foundation and the National Association of Community Health Centers to provide grants to 12 additional community health centers

  • Extension of our philanthropic efforts through the Aetna Foundation, which provides state and community-based grants to address opioid abuse nationally.

  • Expansion of our Pharmacists Teach prevention education program to provide curriculum to CVS Caremark members and to reach parents in 26 new states.

Patient- and member-focused prevention

Our opioid abuse prevention efforts reached patients and members in 2018 through:

  • The implementation of enhanced opioid utilization management for our CVS Caremark clients, who represent 94 million member lives.

  • Strengthened counseling for CVS Pharmacy patients filling their first opioid prescription, and new training for retail pharmacists on medication assisted treatment (MAT), so that they are able to provide the best care for patients struggling with opioid-use disorder.

  • Expansion of our safe medication disposal program, adding 750 units in CVS Pharmacy locations and continued work with The Partnership™ at to make drug collection units available to law enforcement agencies.

  • Plans to expand Aetna’s 2018 pilot program, “Guardian Angel,” which provides Aetna members who recently experienced an opioid overdose with support from a clinician, specializing in substance use disorders.

Continuing our best-in-class governance and our public policy work

Overseeing our opioid-related efforts is our Board of Directors, which is committed to ensuring that we are developing solutions to prescription opioid abuse. And within our Board of Directors, our Medical Affairs Committee is taking on a broader scope of responsibilities, including matters related to opioid safety.

We are also working to make a difference in our communities by advocating for legislation that addresses opioid misuse and abuse. Across the country, we’re collaborating with community leaders, policymakers, law enforcement and health care professionals to expand opioid education, encourage safe prescription drug disposal and advocate for new policies that tackle this public health challenge. We’ve also advocated to be able to offer access to naloxone, the lifesaving opioid overdose-reversal drug, without a prescription to CVS Pharmacy patients in 48 states.