For the past several months, HDA has been collaborating with our pharmacy partners at Allied Against Opioid Abuse (AAOA), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA), to develop a suite of resources specific to the pharmacy community. We are pleased that last week, those resources were mailed to thousands of pharmacists across the country and released online at www.AgainstOpioidAbuse.org/PharmacyToolkit.
We know that pharmacists play an important role in educating patients and their caregivers about prescription opioids. According to a recent poll commissioned by AAOA, more than 70 percent of respondents said detailed instructions from pharmacists about safe use, storage and disposal of prescription opioids would make a meaningful difference in addressing the crisis.
We also learned from our partners that pharmacists work collaboratively with prescribers to ensure patients are receiving the correct medications. They also communicate red flags or alert the prescriber about other medications the patient may be taking. This continued collaboration is key to making sure that patients have access to effective pain management, while taking prescription opioids responsibly.
Our partners at AAOA want to make sure that pharmacists have the tools to make a difference in reducing opioid abuse and misuse in their communities by working with patients and prescribers. The AAOA Pharmacy Toolkit aims to help pharmacists on both fronts by providing several materials that help pharmacists start conversations with their patients and healthcare provider colleagues about prescription opioids. Elements of the toolkit include:
- Patient Engagement Guide;
- Patient Engagement Reminder;
- Pharmacy Display Item;
- Patient Handout; and,
- Provider Engagement Guide.
My colleagues and I at HDA hope that the AAOA Pharmacy Toolkit is a welcome resource for pharmacists that can help them with difficult but important conversations.
Building on the toolkit, we are already exploring other opportunities to provide resources to key constituencies in the supply chain to further educate patients about their rights, risks and responsibilities when it comes to prescription opioids. We invite you to share the toolkit resources with pharmacists in your network and let us know if you have suggestions for future resources in this space.
ABOUT ALLIED AGAINST OPIOID ABUSE
Allied Against Opioid Abuse is a national education and awareness initiative to help prevent abuse and misuse of prescription opioids. Founded by the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, the initiative is a collaborative effort with diverse partners across the pharmaceutical supply chain, as well as organizations that are experts in public health and healthcare, including ADvancing States, Alliance for Aging Research, American Pharmacists Association, American Physical Therapy Association, BeMedWise, Caregiver Action Network, Gerontological Society of America, Healthcare Leadership Council, HealthyWomen, Men’s Health Network, Mental Health America, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration, National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Consumers League, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Transitions of Care Coalition, Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the PA Foundation. Our goal is to contribute to solving the opioid crisis in a meaningful way by educating patients about their rights, risks and responsibilities. To learn more, visit www.AgainstOpioidAbuse.org or follow us on Twitter: @AAOA_Tweets.
ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE DISTRIBUTION ALLIANCE
The Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) represents primary pharmaceutical distributors — the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide. Since 1876, HDA has helped members navigate regulations and innovations to get the right medicines to the right patients at the right time, safely and efficiently. The HDA Research Foundation, HDA’s nonprofit charitable foundation, serves the healthcare industry by providing research and education focused on priority healthcare supply chain issues.