Harm Reduct J. 2023 Jan 24;20(1):10. doi: 10.1186/s12954-023-00739-4.
BACKGROUND: Although fentanyl test strips (FTS) can accurately determine the presence of fentanyl in unregulated substances, access to FTS remains limited. This study aimed to examine North Carolina community pharmacists’ attitudes and willingness to engage in various behaviors related to FTS sales and distribution.
METHODS: A convenience sample of community pharmacists completed an online survey that assessed: (1) comfort initiating an FTS conversation; (2) willingness to sell FTS, distribute FTS instructions, counsel on FTS, refer patients to harm reduction organizations, and advertise FTS; (3) perceived barriers and benefits of selling FTS; and (4) interest in FTS training. Data were collected from March to May 2022. Descriptive statistics were calculated.
RESULTS: Of the 592 pharmacists who participated, most were somewhat or very willing to refer patients to harm reduction organizations for FTS (514, 86.9%), counsel on FTS (485, 81.9%), distribute FTS instructions (475, 80.2%), sell FTS (470, 79.3%), and advertise FTS for sale (372, 62.9%). The most commonly reported benefits of selling FTS were reducing overdose deaths in the community (n = 482, 81.4%) and participating in community harm reduction efforts (n = 455; 76.9%). Barriers commonly reported to selling FTS were: not knowing where to order FTS (n = 295, 49.8%) and discomfort initiating a conversation about FTS (n = 266, 44.9%). Most respondents (88.3%) were interested in FTS training.
CONCLUSION: North Carolina community pharmacists are willing to engage in various behaviors related to FTS sales and distribution. Most pharmacists were interested in receiving FTS training, which should be created to address pharmacist-reported barriers to FTS sales. Pharmacist distribution of FTS could increase access to FTS at the community level and has the potential to change drug use behavior and reduce overdose deaths.