J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2022 Oct 14:S1544-3191(22)00330-2. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2022.10.004. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Community pharmacists are well-positioned to engage in opioid-related harm reduction activities (i.e., opioid interventions). However, several barriers to providing these interventions have been identified. Comparing the frequencies of opioid interventions and identifying which barriers are perceived to have the highest impact in providing interventions will yield valuable information for increasing opioid use disorder (OUD) care access within pharmacies.
OBJECTIVES: To (1) characterize the frequency of 9 opioid interventions in community practice settings and (2) assess community pharmacists’ perceptions of what impact 15 key barriers have on providing opioid interventions.
METHODS: This was a multi-state, cross-sectional, and descriptive survey study. Opioid interventions evaluated included prevention (e.g., OUD screening) and treatment (e.g., OUD resource referral); barriers encompassed confidence and knowledge, work environment, provider interactions, and patient interactions. Respondents were recruited from 3 community pharmacy practice-based research networks in the Midwest and South regions of the US. Recruitment and telephone survey administration occurred between December 2021 and March 2022. Descriptive statistics were computed and open-ended items were reviewed to identify common themes.
RESULTS: Sixty-nine of 559 pharmacists contacted (12.3%) completed the survey. All opioid interventions were reported to be provided less frequently than indicated in practice. Screening and referral interventions were provided least frequently, at 1.2 and 1.6 times on average, respectively, to the last 10 patients for which respondents felt each intervention was needed. Patient refusal, minimal or no reimbursement, inadequate staffing and time, and negative patient reactions were identified as the highest-impact barriers to providing opioid interventions. Approximately 26% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that pharmacy school adequately prepared them to provide opioid interventions in practice.
CONCLUSION: Prioritizing the resolution of pharmacy work environment barriers will support pharmacists in routinely providing opioid interventions. Changes in Doctor of Pharmacy curricula and continuing education are also indicated to further prepare pharmacists to engage in opioid-related harm reduction.