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Walgreens, APhA take aim at substance abuse

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WASHINGTON — Walgreens has teamed up with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) to battle prescription drug abuse.

APhA Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependencies_2015

Last year’s inaugural APhA Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependencies drew more than 200 pharmacists and student pharmacists to Salt Lake City.

Through the collaboration, the APhA Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependencies will continue to offer a substance abuse education program for pharmacists and student pharmacists. The four-day educational program, which will provide pharmacy professionals with key information and resources on the disease of addiction, is scheduled for June 3 to 6 in Salt Lake City.

“We are pleased to have the support of Walgreens to work along with the profession as the epidemic of substance abuse in our nation continues to grow,” APhA executive vice president and chief executive officer Thomas Menighan said in a statement. “Through the institute, we hope to raise the public’s awareness of this critical issue through their pharmacists. While pharmacists have always been on the front lines, we can do more. Our goal is to enhance public awareness of substance use disorders and take action with our local communities.”

The APhA Institute offers training and networking opportunities for students, faculty members, pharmacists and board of pharmacy members to guide their chapters, schools and colleges of pharmacy, practice areas and state boards to build a foundation for addiction awareness and programming within the profession. The institute will present the latest methods and techniques for assisting people in finding treatment and supporting them in ongoing recovery, APhA and Walgreens said.

Participants will learn how to recognize and address the misuse and abuse of prescription medications and other addictive substances.

“As a pharmacy, we are committed to playing a role in what must be a comprehensive solution to prevent addiction and prescription drug abuse throughout the country,” stated Richard Ashworth, president of pharmacy and retail operations at Walgreens. “Our work with APhA, together with Walgreens programs that specifically target opioid abuse, will go a long way to help address the epidemics of prescription drug misuse and heroin overdoses.”

Walgreens noted that the collaboration builds on its ongoing efforts to fight prescription drug abuse. In February, the drug chain announced it will install safe medication disposal kiosks in more than 500 drug stores around the country. The kiosks will make the disposal of medications, including opioids and other controlled substances, easier and more convenient plus help reduce the misuse of medications and the rise in overdose deaths, according to the company.

In addition, Walgreens plans to will make naloxone, a lifesaving opioid antidote, available without a prescription in 35 states and Washington, D.C. Currently, naloxone has been made available without a prescription in more than 1,500 Walgreens pharmacies in Alabama, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. On Tuesday, Walgreens announced that its 190-plus drug stores in New Jersey began providing naloxone without a prescription.

“By making naloxone available without a prescription, we are making it easier for New Jersey families and caregivers to help their loved ones by having it on hand in case it’s needed,” commented Domenic DiPrimo, Walgreens’ regional health care director in New Jersey. “As a pharmacy we are here to help people, and we are committed to making naloxone more accessible in the communities we serve.”


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