CVS medication disposal

CVS has announced a number of efforts to combat the opioid epidemic across the country, including donating medication disposal boxes for the state to use in a "take back" effort, where people will be able to return their unused prescription drugs judgement-free. CVS/Provided

CVS Health announced an expansion of its efforts to reduce the amount of unused painkillers sitting in South Carolinians' medicine cabinets.

Their drug take-back boxes will be put in place at 22 CVS stores in the state.

The pharmacy and benefit manager has already donated 24 boxes to police and sheriff's departments in South Carolina, according to a Tuesday press release. The drug disposal sites are part of CVS' effort to combat the opioid epidemic; four out of five heroin addicts began with a pain pill, according to the state's Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services.

Often the painkillers are abused by someone other than the person who filled the prescription. Experts encourage the public to get rid of their unused painkillers in order to prevent them being used inappropriately. 

“We know that opioids and other dangerous drugs often end up in the wrong hands after being taken out of parents’ and grandparents’ medicine cabinets,” Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a statement. “We appreciate CVS’s efforts to help fight the opioid epidemic by giving people a safe and easy way to dispose of unwanted medications.”

CVS announced the effort late last year. It came along with a new rule that CVS pharmacies would not dispense more than seven days' worth of opioid painkiller to patients "who are new to therapy." That rule is set to be put in place Feb. 1.

The state also maintains a map of drug disposal sites. 

Sites will be set up all over the state in the coming weeks, including in Anderson, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Florence, Myrtle Beach and Lexington, among other locations.

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.

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