Skip to main content

Combatting the Opioid Crisis: From Communities to the Capital

March 15, 2018 | Public Policy

Recently, Chief Policy Officer and General Counsel Tom Moriarty represented CVS Health at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Combatting the Opioid Crisis: From Communities to the Capital, an event highlighting how businesses, the public sector, and local communities are coordinating to tackle the opioid epidemic. His panel, “Solutions from the Health Sectors,” brought representatives from across the health care supply chain to discuss key initiatives, partnerships, and policy recommendations.

Moriarty focused on CVS Health’s multi-pronged, enterprise approach to addressing the public health crisis, and elaborated on two themes that emerged from the conversation: the need for community-specific solutions and policies that can support prevention efforts.

Addressing Needs Locally

Moriarty underscored the importance of addressing local needs through local solutions. With a presence in nearly 10,000 communities across the nation, CVS Health currently provides community-based support in a number of ways:

Training and empowering pharmacists behind the counter to help address improper opioid prescribing and also counsel patients on the risks associated with taking such medications;
Deploying volunteer pharmacists in local schools through the Pharmacists Teach program to educate and prevent future abuse; and
Providing a safe way to dispose of unwanted or unused medications by expanding access to drug disposal units in CVS Pharmacy stores, in addition to those already donated to law enforcement across the country.

Additionally, grants provided by CVS Health Foundation and through other corporate giving efforts further community impact by helping local organizations address their community’s specific needs with targeted solutions and programs, such as medication-assisted treatment.

Supporting Policies that Strengthen Prevention Efforts

Data play a critical role in better predicting and identifying misuse, which helps health professionals recognize when intervention is needed. Mr. Moriarty underscored the need to leverage and share data more broadly, offering two policy recommendations:

  • Sharing data from prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) across state borders: These statewide electronic databases gather information on controlled substance prescriptions and are crucial to identifying and preventing drug abuse and diversion. Presently, however, these systems are often state-specific and are not integrated across state lines. This lack of interconnectivity can impede early detection and intervention, especially when prescriptions are being filled from multiple doctors in different states.
  • Using electronic prescribing universally for controlled substances: Also known as e-prescribing, this anti-diversion tool directly connects a prescriber’s database with the pharmacy via a secure network to ensure a prescription is legitimate.

Other panelists, representing Aetna, Cardinal Health, and Optum, echoed the need for community-based solutions and the importance of data sharing to prevent opioid abuse and misuse. Collectively, participants demonstrated how, regardless of role in the health sector, companies like CVS Health are dedicated to employing multiple strategies to curb opioid misuse and abuse.

For more information about our efforts in the fight against opioid abuse, visit Our Commitment to Fight Opioid Abuse and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.