Organization calls for state-level legislative and regulatory revisions.
NACDS’s four new policy recommendations for opioid abuse prevention include increasing access to naloxone and working towards a national prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP).
The organization’s new opioid recommendations include state-level legislative and regulatory revisions that would foster the goal of a national PDMP database, Steven C. Anderson, NACDS president and CEO, tells Drug Topics.
Proposed PDMP requirements include daily reporting of controlled substance dispensing information to state PDMPs, data standardization to improve PDMP usefulness, a check to the state PDMP by providers prior to issuing a controlled substance prescription, and enabling interstate access to PDMP data.
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In Missouri, the only state without a PDMP, NACDS is continuing to work with its two in-state partners on a statewide PDMP that builds on the current county-based program that covers nearly 80% of that state’s population, according to Anderson.
NACDS now recommends that naloxone be coprescribed for some opioid prescriptions. Because certain patient populations are at increased risk of overdose due to the nature of their condition or to the combination of medications they take, coprescribing ensures immediate access naloxone that could prove life-saving in emergencies, Anderson says.
“NACDS will pursue state legislation that ensures all patients taking potentially dangerous combinations have access to naloxone when the initial opioid prescription is filled. NACDS urges the authorization of pharmacists to prescribe and dispense naloxone immediately upon identifying patients at potential risk of overdose, or an individual that presents with possible abuse of heroin,” Anderson says.
NACDS is also urging for reforms in the design of health plans to help identify and treat patients with substance use disorders (SUDs) and is urging improved coverage for pain management treatments other than opioids.
“Opportunities exist to leverage the role of the pharmacist in services that improve access to medications for SUDs and addiction, incentivize screenings for SUDs, and improve access to medication assisted treatment at the physician- and community-pharmacy levels,” says Anderson.
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NACDS proposes to pursue federal and state policies that require coverage of alternative, non-opioid drug therapies for chronic pain management at the same formulary and cost-sharing tier. NACDS also proposes to require coverage of complementary or integrated health pain management services, according to Anderson.
Pharmacists’ role in opioid abuse prevention is warranted and welcome-70% of Americans support leveraging pharmacy’s role to help solve issues related to opioid abuse, says Anderson.
In addition, a national survey conducted in January 2019 by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS found that, by a 2-to-1 margin, pharmacies and pharmacists are considered to be a solution, not a contributor, to the problem of opioid abuse.