Tools for Pharmacists to Help Reverse the Opioid Epidemic

Pharmacists can play a crucial role in the effort to stop opioid overdose deaths. These resources are aimed at helping pharmacists learn more about opioid safety and the overdose antidote naloxone.

December 2016
A selection of DIY tools.

Community pharmacists can play an important role in the effort to stop opioid overdose deaths. They have the dual responsibility of providing safe and appropriate access to opioids while also protecting patients and the public from the harms of diversion and addiction. Through the resources CHCF has compiled below, pharmacists can learn about opioid safety, how to recognize if a patient might have an opioid use disorder, how to become certified to furnish the overdose reversal agent naloxone, and more. Included are links to courses available for CE credits.

Educational Opportunities

The Last Line of Defense
Learn about corresponding responsibility, signs of potential misuse or addiction, how to use CURES (the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System database), and the basics of naloxone furnishing in this free, one-hour online continuing education (CE) course. (Quality Healthcare Concepts)

Opioid Use Disorders: Interventions for Community Pharmacists
This short document reviews the three-step process for ensuring safe opioid use, what to do if a pharmacist suspects that a patient has opioid use disorder, how to talk to patients compassionately and directly about substance use disorders, and counseling strategies for medication-assisted addiction treatment. (College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists)

Managing Pain Safely (PDF)
This pharmacy toolkit provides a comprehensive overview of safe pain management, as well as guidelines for drug disposal and naloxone use. (Partnership HealthPlan of California)

Naloxone Resources

Naloxone Access: A Practical Guideline for Pharmacists
Learn how to recognize patients who are appropriate candidates for naloxone. Also review naloxone formulations, suppliers, regulatory background, and tools to educate patients about this medication. This document includes low-literacy graphic handouts for patients. (College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists)

Prescribe to Prevent and Harm Reduction Coalition
In these freely available websites, pharmacists can explore many naloxone basics, including tips on patient counseling and how to stock the medication and its materials.

Become Certified to Furnish Naloxone

Review California's Board of Pharmacy protocol on furnishing naloxone in this three-page document.

Becoming certified to furnish naloxone is a straightforward three-step process, which can be completed in a few hours by following these steps:

  1. Complete a one-hour ACPE-approved CE course, such as this one, offered for free.
  2. Obtain a National Provider Identification (NPI) number.
  3. Become a Medi-Cal ordering, referring, and prescribing (ORP) provider. With the NPI number from Step 2, complete the appropriate form on the Medi-Cal website.