The conversation on pharmacists and opioids continues

Most of us are engaged in one way or another in supporting patients with pain or assisting those with substance use disorder. To demonstrate the impact of pharmacists have as front line providers in the nationwide opioid crisis, the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA) has published “Opioids, Naloxone, and Beyond: The Intersection of Medication Safety, Public Health, and Pharmacy,” a special issue available online now.

Jeffrey Bratberg, PharmD, BCPS, a long-time advocate for the role of pharmacists in this area and APhA leader, serves as guest editor. He presented during the full-day APhA Pain Institute at APhA2017 on March 24, emphasizing that millions of people are at risk and thousands of people are dying. At the same time, we must continue to provide compassionate care to our patients living with chronic pain.

The 30 peer-reviewed articles in the special issue provide evidence-based articles and results from pharmacists initiating and sustaining effective patient, public health, and system-level interventions to reduce opioid-related morbidity and mortality. Check it out today.

I’ve said many times that it’s crucial for us to share our stories with our policy makers and peers to illustrate the great contributions pharmacists make to high-quality patient care—our personal stories help us make our case for greater pharmacist integration into the health care team. APhA works every day to pass the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592/S. 109) in Congress. Later this week, APhA volunteer leaders will visit Capitol Hill to advocate for the bill and to tell their stories.

Evidence-based solutions are key to any health care provider looking out for their patients’ health. The evidence is on our side: we improve outcomes, reduce costs, and help fight preventable diseases by optimizing medication use, administering immunizations, and assisting patients in managing their chronic diseases. Pharmacists have an important role to play in addressing substance use disorder.