Pharmacists touted as last line of defense against opioid addiction

At recent Prescription Drug Awareness Conferences in Pittsburgh, DEA called for pharmacists and soon-to-be pharmacy school graduates to tighten controls over prescription opioids. “You are often going to be the last line of defense for us,” said Gary Tuggle, the DEA special agent in charge.

At recent Prescription Drug Awareness Conferences in Pittsburgh, DEA called for pharmacists and soon-to-be pharmacy school graduates to tighten controls over prescription opioids. “You are often going to be the last line of defense for us,” said Gary Tuggle, the DEA special agent in charge. He said that pharmacists who encounter addicts with illegitimate prescriptions should take a stand and not second-guess their instincts. Pharmacists also may discuss the issue of analgesics and addiction with patients, or even inform on prescribers who write opioid prescriptions too freely. Some pharmacists attending the conference pointed out that corporate executives often pressure them to move more medications, and encourage them to call customers at refill time to ask if they need anything else. Adam Dashner, a sixth-year student pharmacist at Duquesne University and a conference attendee, noted that refusing to fill a prescription may provide greater value to the patient and the community than filling a profitable prescription.