The coalition, known as the National Conference of Pharmaceutical Organizations (NCPO), is a group of organizations and associations that collectively represent more than 300,000 pharmacy practitioners and pharmaceutical scientists, companies engaged in healthcare delivery, as well as pharmacy regulators and educators. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is also a member of the coalition.
“This NCPO statement and request for a meeting with the administration reflects pharmacy’s consistent engagement as a working partner to help address the opioid abuse epidemic, and that of our partner organizations. Pharmacy continues to take seriously its role as part of the solution, and as an ongoing collaborator with enforcement and health agencies,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson, regarding the issuance of the NCPO statement.
“Pharmacy has significant insights about the complexity of this issue given the role of pharmacists on the front lines of healthcare every day, and we are committed to working proactively with NCPO members and with all levels and branches of government for the safety of our families and communities,” Anderson added.
“APhA, along with the other NCPO members, is individually and jointly committed to identifying best practices to combat this public health crisis and moving swiftly to implement those practices across the country, ” said APhA executive vice president and chief executive officer Thomas Menighan. “We believe such collaborative efforts are important because the various organizations can bring important perspectives in helping to bring an end to this public health epidemic.”
APhA has been active in promoting the inclusion of pharmacists as a necessary resource to curb the prescription drug and opioid abuse epidemic.
APhA has long advocated for the important role of the pharmacist in providing a variety of patient care services for patients taking opioid medications, such as utilizing prescription drug monitoring programs, identifying red flag warning signs, providing patients naloxone, and working on care teams to both prevent and treat substance use disorder. Pharmacist involvement in opioid use disorders helps improve access and outcomes, while reducing the risk of relapse.
In addition, APhA created an online opioid resource center to arm pharmacists with tools to improve pain management, while stemming opioid abuse and misuse.
Separately, the APhA Pain Institute, an intense lecture and debate series at the APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition, is designed to keep pharmacists up-to-date on the latest in the world of opioids. This full day of engaging, original content from the profession’s leading experts prepares pharmacists to be able to recognize the psychology behind pain medication abuse, identify patients who misuse opioids and those with addiction, and manage both addiction and chronic pain.
“Pharmacists are and always have been on the frontlines of the opioid crisis, and will be a part of the many solutions to the problem,” said Menighan. “They are actively working with patients and their communities on a daily basis, and APhA’s priority is to make sure that policy makers and our fellow health care providers know what pharmacists can do to make meaningful progress in the fight against opioids.”