How national drugstore plans to help in fight against opioid abuse

In a bid to fight against an increasing number of opioid overdoses, a national drugstore is putting new limits on prescriptions and looking to educate patients.

According to a release on the CVS Health website, opioid overdose deaths quadrupled from 1999 to 2015. In an attempt to curb this number, CVS Caremark will have pharmacists talk to patients about the risks involved with opioid use. The company will also only allow seven-day supplies on “certain acute prescriptions.”

It will also limit daily opioid dosages, depending on the strength of the medicine, and will require immediate-release formulas to be given first before dispensing extended-release versions.

“Without a doubt, addressing our nation’s opioid crisis calls for a multipronged effort involving many health care stakeholders, from doctors, dentists and pharmaceutical companies to pharmacies and government officials,” Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health, said in the statement.

CVS’ Our Pharmacists Teach program has reached out to about 300,000 students to discuss the dangers of opioid abuse and is planning to offer more education on the subject.

“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,” Merlo said.

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