WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As part of an ongoing commitment to support law enforcement and help build safer communities, CVS Health said it has completed installation of time delay safe technology in all 392 Illinois CVS Pharmacy locations, including those in Target stores.
The safes are anticipated to help prevent pharmacy robberies and the potential for associated diversion of controlled substance medications — including opioid medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone — by electronically delaying the time it takes for pharmacy employees to open the safe. In addition, the safes are anticipated to benefit the safety and well-being of CVS Pharmacy customers and employees.
The company’s rollout of time delay safes is in support of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s new Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Task Force, which was established earlier this year. The task force is the first large-scale, public-private collaboration of its kind in Illinois and is designed to foster cooperation among retailers, online marketplaces, law enforcement agencies and state attorneys general dedicated to targeting organized retail crime enterprises. Together, this partnership has helped to investigate and close a dozen ORC cases in Illinois this year alone, recovering millions of dollars in stolen product and identifying the sources of more than $45 million in losses to retailers statewide.
“Opioid addiction has destroyed lives throughout Illinois, and tools that prevent addictive medications from being stolen from pharmacies support our work to combat the opioid epidemic and organized retail crime,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. “I formed an Organized Retail Crime Task Force to address increasing organized retail theft, which impacts businesses including CVS. Time delay safe technology will serve as a deterrent to would-be thieves, and I appreciate CVS Health taking this step to help us enhance public safety.”
CVS Health said it first implemented time delay safe technology in 2015 in CVS Pharmacy locations across Indianapolis, a city experiencing a high volume of pharmacy robberies at the time. The company saw a 70% decline in pharmacy robberies among the Indianapolis stores where time delay safes had been installed. Since then, the company has introduced time delay safes across 20 states, including Illinois, and the District of Columbia, resulting in a 50% decline in robberies at CVS pharmacies in those local communities.
“While our company continues to focus on moving the country one step closer to a post-pandemic world by increasing access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing and other measures to help create healthy communities, supporting law enforcement efforts in their battle against organized retail crime also remains a focus,” said Thomas Moriarty, chief policy officer and general counsel, CVS Health. “Criminal activities that organized retail crime rings fund are a clear danger to our communities, so it is important that retailers, law enforcement and political leaders work together to solve this problem. Time delay safes can help reduce the theft and diversion of prescription medications and brings added security to our stores which creates a safe environment for our patients and colleagues.”
The time delay function cannot be overridden and is designed to serve as a deterrent to would-be pharmacy robbers whose goal is to enter and exit their robbery targets as quickly as possible. All CVS Pharmacy locations in Illinois display visible signage warning that time delay safes are in use to prevent on-demand access to controlled substance narcotics.
CVS Health’s time delay safe program is one of many company initiatives to help address and prevent prescription medication misuse and diversion, the company said. Through its Safe Medication Disposal Program in Illinois, for example, the company has installed 134 drug disposal units in select CVS Pharmacy locations and donated 38 units to local police departments in the state. To date, 100,000 pounds of unwanted and expired medication have been collected in Illinois. Presently, the company supports over 4,000 safe medication disposal units in CVS Pharmacy locations and through local law enforcement organizations nationwide. Together, these existing medication disposal units have collected more than 3 million pounds of unwanted medications that might otherwise have been diverted, misused or ended up in the water supply.