Our country is facing a crisis around substance misuse. According to Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health—the first ever report of its kind—more than 20 million people have substance use disorders, 12.5 million Americans report misusing prescription pain relievers in the past year, and 78 people in the United States die every day from an opioid overdose.
There are numerous federal and state agencies and assets being brought to bear, and we’ve helped many pharmacists get “plugged in” to assist. We know that a significant portion of APhA’s membership is engaged one way or another, either in supporting patients with pain or in assisting those with substance use disorder. We’re also engaged in many ways with law enforcement officials to help reduce illicit activities. To support our members, no matter their practice setting, we’ve developed extensive resources to support you in your work. On www.pharmacist.com, you will find the Opioid Use, Abuse, and Misuse Center, a one-stop shop for learning opportunities, tips and guidelines; tools to connect with state and national resources; information on the latest laws and regulations; and clinical and patient resources.
If you are serious about opioids and pain management, plan to attend the 2017 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco on March 24–27 for a full day of education at the APhA Pain Institute: Pharmacists on the Frontlines of the Opioid Epidemic, being held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting on March 24. As you’re making your plans for the year, consider joining us at APhA2017 for the best and most comprehensive pharmacy education in the profession.
Pharmacists are underutilized and underappreciated as a resource and member of the health care team. But as the most accessible health care providers—and as drug experts—pharmacists are on the front lines of pain management and patient care. We share that story in our advocacy every day while you keep patients well cared for as we work to assist those in pain or afflicted with substance use disorder.
Check out our resources and programming. Let us know what you are doing, and please let us know if you see additional opportunities.