During the NACDS TSE Business Session on Sunday, August 25, NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, announced the NACDS’ 30-second message on one of the vitally important commitments made by pharmacies and pharmacists: to serve as part of the solution for preventing opioid abuse and addiction while also caring for those suffering from pain.
“It is a lot to say in 30 seconds, but it is worth a try,” said Anderson. “It is an important message that is backed up by countless moments that matter in communities throughout the nation.
“No doubt, addressing this issue in such a short span of time is not easy. There is so much more to say, because there is so much more being done—by pharmacies and pharmacists, by others in healthcare, by law enforcement, and by many others,” continued Anderson. “Pharmacies also remain committed to pursuing new solutions that become available. However, concise communication often is a prerequisite for the larger conversation—one in which NACDS has been, and will remain, engaged.
“After all, there is a moment of truth when a patient walks into the pharmacy to fill an opioid prescription,” he remarked. “The pharmacist makes a professional decision as to whether the prescriber wrote the prescription for a legitimate medical purpose, or whether something else is going on. At that moment of truth, two worlds collide: the pharmacist’s commitment to patient care, and the pharmacist’s role as part of the solution to drug abuse and addiction.”
“The reality is that pharmacies and pharmacists do so much to address this issue, before that moment of truth, during that moment of truth, and afterward. They also serve as working partners to assist in resolving aspects of this issue that do not involve the pharmacy counter at all, such as illegally manufactured and trafficked fentanyl and heroin. The story of pharmacies’ and pharmacists’ engagement involves extensive efforts in the following areas: compliance programs; drug disposal; patient and community education; security initiatives; fostering naloxone access; stopping illegal online drug-sellers and rogue clinics; philanthropic programs; and more,” Anderson noted.
Learning from pharmacists’ experiences, Anderson said, NACDS is advocating for improvements to public policy. The recommendations involve electronic prescribing; drug disposal; supply limits for a patient’s first prescription to treat temporary pain, with important exceptions for chronic pain and pain associated with cancer, with other illnesses, and with end-of-life care; prescription drug monitoring plans; health plan design; and pain management.
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