Engaging and Educating Our Patients to Help Address the Opioid Crisis

As we look to the start of 2019, NASPA is encouraged by the work pharmacists across the country are doing to address the opioid epidemic. Important conversations between pharmacists, patients and their caregivers are helping more Americans understand the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioids.

Healthcare providers play a significant role in preventing the potential abuse and misuse of opioids. To help pharmacists engage and educate their patients, Allied Against Opioid Abuse (AAOA) developed a full suite of educational materials. AAOA collaborated with the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA), and its pharmacy partners, including NASPA and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), to create the resources.

AAOA Pharmacy Toolkit materials focus on helping pharmacists to educate their patients and caregivers about the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioids. The toolkit includes the following resources:

  • Pharmacy Display;
  • Patient Handout;
  • Patient Engagement Guide;
  • Tips for Talking with Patients and Caregivers;
  • Provider Engagement Guide; and,
  • Safe Storage and Disposal Training Deck.

Prescription opioids carry serious risk of addiction and overdose, especially with prolonged use, so it is important that pharmacists talk to patients and make sure they understand the risks and potential side effects as well as their responsibility to safeguard them. When those medicines are taken home, patients can help prevent prescription opioid misuse and abuse by safely storing the medicine in a secure place and promptly disposing of any expired or unused pills.

Pharmacists have found the AAOA resources helpful in facilitating conversations with patients and prescribers. Katie Bass at San Joaquin Drug, a community pharmacy located in Planada, California, found that many patients are not aware of the potential dangers of prescription opioids, so the education is filling a much-needed gap in the healthcare space. Bass shared her advice to fellow pharmacists recently:

“Don’t be intimidated to talk with your patients about the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioids. That’s why we have the role we have and patients trust us, so you might just make a difference.”

We encourage you to download the AAOA Pharmacy Toolkit and help us share this new resource. Together we can help educate consumers, patients and caregivers, and raise awareness about the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioids.

Download the Toolkit

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