Photo: CVS Health Newsroom

CVS Rolls Out Time-Delay Safes At All Michigan Pharmacies

The time-delay cannot be overridden.

June 24, 2019 - 8:04 pm

(WWJ) -- In a new effort to combat the opioid crisis, CVS has put time-delay safes in all of its Michigan pharmacies for high-theft drugs, such as opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well and drugs that treat ADD and ADHD.

CVS says all 318 of its locations across the state -- including those within Target stores -- now have time-delay safes in an attempt to prevent robberies that target those drugs, keeping employees, customers and entire communities safe.

In order to access the drugs kept inside the safe, the pharmacist has to enter a code and the safe will open after an undisclosed amount of time. The time-delay cannot be overridden. Officials say the delay deters would-be robbers from hitting the pharmacies knowing they will not be able to achieve their goal of entering and exiting the pharmacy as quickly as possible.

Spokesperson Elizabeth Ferguson says the wait times will vary after a code is entered into the safe. Signs denoting the time-delay safes will be displayed at the entrance of the pharmacy, as well as near the counter. As far as whether this will put the pharmacist in danger from a frustrated robber, Ferguson says the program has proved to work.

"What we’ve found is, with the signage and the public awareness that the safe doesn’t open and the pharmacist really can’t – there’s no secret key that will open it – that we’ve not had that kind of problem," Ferguson told WWJ.

In fact, she says, in a test in Indianapolis, the program has cut robberies by 70%. As for customers who are in a hurry to get their prescription, Ferguson says it is best to call ahead so the drugs are waiting for them when they arrive.

"Pharmacy robberies are a challenging issue for every pharmacy and we are committed to doing all we can to reduce the number of incidents in our Michigan stores," a CVS official said in a press release. "We have seen that time delay safes, combined with other security policies and procedures in place at our stores, can greatly reduce these incidents and are pleased to roll out this enhanced security measure. These safes will help ensure that our pharmacies remain a safe environment for our patients and colleagues."