APhA-ASP to Launch Operation Substance Use Disorders Project with Support from Walmart

CONTACT: Meredith Jannsen
202.320.2234; mjannsen@aphanet.org

As the country observes American Pharmacists Month, National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, and National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, the American Pharmacists Association–Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) announced it will augment its robust series of patient care projects with a new program aimed at increasing awareness of public health and wellness issues where pharmacists play a key role in improving patient health.  The new project is possible through funding from Walmart and will provide student pharmacists with the tools and knowledge to work within their communities to educate patients on the misuse of prescription medications while striving to break the stigma of substance use disorders and support recovery. 

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Walmart on this new initiative,” said Keith Marciniak, VP of Member Relations at APhA. “This patient care project provides an avenue for student pharmacists to use their passion to care for patients with substance use disorders. With hands-on training and experience working in their communities, students will have direct conversation with the public about medication misuse and addiction that will create a better tomorrow for our patients.” 

All APhA-ASP Chapters across the country are eligible to participate in the national project by hosting community-based presentations and activities that educate and raise awareness regarding medication misuse and substance use disorders.  The program will also include educational webinars on critical issues around recognizing signs of misuse, understanding and destigmatizing addiction, and supporting recovery. 

For many years APhA-ASP patient care projects have been an essential part of the APhA-ASP membership experience, preparing student pharmacists for their role as leaders within their communities and empathetic patient care providers. 

“Our investment in this project is an investment in the future of our communities.  It’s important the next generation of pharmacists is ready to recognize signs of opioid misuse or addiction and communicate with patients effectively and with empathy to support recovery,” said Lisa Smith, Senior Director, Clinical Team, Walmart U.S. Health & Wellness.  “This new student-focused effort builds on the work we have done with APhA to ensure all practicing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians across the country are prepared to protect patients from the risks of prescription opioid misuse and abuse.”  

In August, APhA announced a collaboration with Walmart to offer a free comprehensive online training program on opioid stewardship to all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians around the country.  The customized pharmacist program contains 6.5 hours of training and education, including a pain management curriculum.  The online training program was originally developed in 2018 for Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacists.