Evaluation of a Program to Screen Patients in Community Pharmacies for Opioid Misuse and Accidental Overdose
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Evaluation of a Program to Screen Patients in Community Pharmacies for Opioid Misuse and Accidental Overdose

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Prev Chronic Dis
    • Description:

      Community pharmacies nationwide have adopted new strategies to combat the opioid epidemic. One strategy to prevent opioid misuse and accidental overdose is patient screening to identify those at risk. The purpose of our study was to determine whether such screening in community pharmacies led pharmacy personnel to intervene with patients at risk and to describe the proportion of patients they identified as at risk.


      We implemented the Opioid and Naloxone Education (ONE) program in North Dakota to give community pharmacies and pharmacists training and tools to provide preventive screening for opioid misuse and accidental overdose before dispensing a prescribed opioid. Data were collected and analyzed from September 15, 2018, through May 15, 2021, to evaluate overall patient risk characteristics for opioid misuse and accidental overdose.


      Of 8,217 patients screened, 3.9% were identified as at high risk for opioid misuse, and 18.3% at risk for accidental overdose. Nearly 1 of 3 screenings (31.7%) indicated opioid medication use in the past 60 days. Pharmacists delivered 1 or more risk-factor–dependent interventions to 41.1% of patients in the study. Following screening, naloxone dispensing in pharmacies increased to 6 times the national average.


      Pharmacy-based patient screening for risk of opioid misuse and accidental overdose led to risk-dependent interventions targeted to individual patients. The tools and risk-dependent interventions applied in the ONE program increased patient awareness of opioid risks and ways to reduce risk. Future studies should examine long-term outcomes, including reduction in overdose, treatment of opioid use disorder, and reduced opioid-related acute care.

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