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The College of Psychiatric & Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) and members of its Substance Abuse Task Force recently released a guideline document intended to educate community pharmacists on interventions they can employ to provide safe and appropriate access to opioids while also protecting the public from the hazards of misuse and abuse. This publication is supported by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry under its prime grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This guideline document, Opioid Use Disorders: Interventions for Community Pharmacists, provides information on the following:

  • Talking to Your Patients About Substance Use Disorder
  • Three-Step Process for Screening Opioid Prescriptions for Safe Use
  • Improving the Health of Patients with Substance Use Disorders
  • Developing a Local Resource List
  • Helpful Resources

Similar to CPNP’s newly updated Naloxone Access Guideline for Pharmacists, the Opioid Use Disorders: Interventions for Community Pharmacists will be a living document that is updated and maintained on the CPNP website as a freely available source of information.

Task Force Chair Bethany DiPaula, PharmD, BCPP, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, noted that the Opioid Use Disorder guide was intended to coalesce key information community pharmacists can put to immediate use. “Pharmacists can play a critical role in preventing and managing overdoses and optimizing care for patients with opioid use disorder. This guideline was designed to serve as an easy reference providing information that can be readily employed by community pharmacists in their everyday practice.”

CPNP’s President Christopher Thomas, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist and Residency Program Director at the Chillicothe VA in Chillicothe OH, pointed to the role that pharmacists can and should play in reducing the opioid overdose epidemic. “It seems that every day brings a new headline about opioid abuse and overdose. Pharmacists can and should play a key role in ensuring safe and appropriate access to an important medication when used properly.”

To date, promotion of the guideline has reached over 200,000 Facebook users. The creation of the document was very well-received with more than 1,500 positive reactions on Facebook. Combined with the response to CPNP's email blast, over 6,100 people went to the web site to learn more.

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