Personally and in public policy, people trust pharmacies for answers in times of need.
Explore pharmacy’s engagement on issues ranging from healthcare quality, affordability and access …
to solving the opioid abuse epidemic.
Opioid Abuse Epidemic: NACDS’ New Public Policy Recommendations
Legislate a 7-day supply limit for initial opioid prescriptions issued for acute pain
- This limit is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain
- CDC clinical evidence: greater amount of initial opioid exposure is associated with greater risk for long-term use and addiction
- Nearly 20 states already have taken action; federal legislation is needed for consistent patient care
Legislate a requirement that all prescriptions be issued electronically, with limited exceptions
- E-prescribing enhances security and curbs fraud, waste and abuse; and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) e-prescribing requirements call for two-factor authentication, reducing the likelihood of fraudulent prescribing
- Federal and state action would be timely, as e-prescribing of controlled substances has only been legal in all 50 states since September 2015
- Only 14 percent of controlled substance prescriptions are issued electronically
Create a national prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) through collaboration
- Most states use data to help identify and prevent drug abuse and diversion, but program variances limit their effectiveness
- It is necessary to harmonize state requirements for reporting and accessing PDMP data, and to create one system with unified expectations by healthcare providers and law enforcement
- A national PDMP would leverage e-prescribing to provide guidance for prescribers and dispensers in real-time when providing patient care
Provide manufacturer-funded mail-back envelopes for unused opioid drugs, available to patients at pharmacies upon request
- Currently, many pharmacies offer disposal programs as appropriate by community and by store
- A program featuring mail-back envelopes provides an option that is universally workable
- State legislation could facilitate a mail-back program
- Educational materials also are in use, and could be expanded in appropriate ways
Every day, pharmacists face a moment of truth. When presented with an opioid prescription, a pharmacist must make decisions as a provider of patient care, and as part of the drug-abuse solution. Based on these experiences, NACDS has announced four new recommendations on this complex issue, to complement pharmacy’s ongoing collaboration with other healthcare professionals and with law enforcement.
These new public policy concepts complement pharmacy’s existing and extensive collaborative efforts, including: compliance programs; pioneering e-prescribing; drug disposal; patient education; security initiatives; fostering naloxone access; stopping illegal online drug-sellers and rogue clinics; and more.