As a means of curbing the nation’s opioid crisis, pharmaceutical giant CVS announced earlier this week that they will be limiting the length of drug prescriptions for certain health conditions to 7 days.

The regulation will only be utilized with patients who are unfamiliar with pain therapy. Physicians and medical officials will also be required to limit the strength and release of their prescriptions, depending on the conditions.

Additionally, the company will be expanding their Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program to 1,550 kiosks with locations in Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and the District of Columbia starting this fall.

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Instead of allowing excess opioids to be abused or thrown away, the disposal program has properly handled over 100 metric tons of drugs in the last two years.

“Everyone has a role to play in addressing the opioid epidemic, and CVS Health is showing how the private sector can help,” said Richard Baum, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy. “Making sure people can safely dispose of unwanted medications is a key part of preventing opioid misuse and abuse, and CVS Health has taken this important step which will support the health of communities across the country.”

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As a means of supporting the new expansion, which will go into full effect starting in February 2018, the CVS Health Foundation has pledged another $2 million to drug abuse mitigation, treatment, recovery, and counseling programs.

“As America’s front door to health care with a presence in nearly 10,000 communities across the country, we see firsthand the impact of the alarming and rapidly growing epidemic of opioid addiction and misuse,” said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Health.

“Without a doubt, addressing our nation’s opioid crisis calls for a multipronged effort involving many health care stakeholders,” Merlo added, “from doctors, dentists and pharmaceutical companies to pharmacies and government officials. With this expansion of our industry-leading initiatives, we are further strengthening our commitment to help providers and patients balance the need for these powerful medications with the risk of abuse and misuse.”

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CVS Health Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan says: “In many ways, the abuse of opiates can be seen as the leading public health emergency the United States faces today… In light of the human suffering and financial costs caused by the current epidemic, a thoughtful, responsible, evidence-based treatment of pain is a service we must provide to our patients.

“Employing principles sanctioned by the CDC is clearly necessary and prudent,” he added.

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