Community Pharmacists Praise New Opioid Measures

November 2, 2017

In the war against the opioid epidemic, pharmacists are excited about their seat at the table.

NCPA issued a statement praising the new initiatives from the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. These initiatives include easier access to naloxone and enhancing prescription drug monitoring programs.

The Commission is proposing that federal agencies and pharmacy associations work collaboratively to train pharmacists on best practices for evaluating the legitimacy of opioid prescriptions, rather than penalize pharmacists for denying inappropriate prescriptions.

“It’s important to assure that remedies implemented through legislation or regulation allow patients with legitimate pain management needs to access appropriate medication. That means that compliance requirements should not overreach so that needful patients are made to suffer,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh.

Read more: The Other Side of Opioid Limits

The commission also called for a nationwide system of drug courts, which are an alternative criminal system that aims to get treatment for substance abusers rather than put them in jail. Other proposals include a requirement that doctors who prescribe opioids must show they have received training in their safe prescribing, greater availability to medication-assisted therapy, and more scrutiny and restrictions on certain controlled substances delivered through the mail. The commission is chaired by Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ).

NCPA is “heartened” by the commission’s report, which includes many ideas that had been proposed by NCPA. “Independent community pharmacists share the American public’s concern about the opioid crisis. We are on the frontlines of this battle and are committed to doing everything we can to help.”

Meanwhile, the commission declined to endorse the use of marijuana for pain. Research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse “found that marijuana use led to a two-and-a-half times greater chance that the marijuana user would become an opioid user and abuser, Christie wrote.