4. Preparing for Worst-Case Scenarios
Expanding pharmacists’ authority to administer and dispense opioid-reversing medications such as naloxone may help pharmacists prevent patient overdoses from legal and illegal drugs.
Some states permit pharmacists to dispense naloxone through a collaborative practice agreement. In states where pharmacists can prescribe naloxone, they must complete training provided by their employer or a local school of pharmacy.
“This initiative requires significant outreach to pharmacists, patients and caregivers, first responders, and legislators,” says Catizone. “Besides educating people on when and how to properly administer such medications, there is the need to educate stakeholders and naysayers about addiction as a disease and not a stigma or indictment of an individual.”
More legislation empowering pharmacists, caregivers, and first responders to ensure the widespread availability of naloxone and other similar products across all states would help save many lives, Catizone says.
“Until the number of patients who are at risk or dying from the use and abuse of opioids is zero or as close to zero as humanly possible,” Catizone says, “there is much more than can be done by pharmacists, pharmacy boards, and other stakeholders.”