Opioid addiction is a chronic problem in the United States. According to drugabuse.gov, 21 to 29 percent of patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain use them incorrectly.
Of that percentage, 8 to 12 percent go on to develop an opioid use disorder. Your local pharmacy can offer a variety of tools to help combat this growing epidemic.
How Your Pharmacy Can Help
Pharmacists are often the most knowledgeable members of the medical community when it comes to both prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
Their understanding of drug interactions between other drugs and within the body position them to be some of the frontline fighters against opioid addiction.
Your pharmacist can help with the opioid epidemic by:
- Advising on opioid drug use and side effects– Your local pharmacist is prepared to offer advising on the use of opioids, their side effects, and what alternatives you may wish to consider instead. They can also offer options on side-effect management to help ease many of the common symptoms of opioid use.
- Offering alternatives for pain management- While opioids may be necessary to manage pain immediately after a procedure, other medications can—and often should—be used in the days or weeks following. Your pharmacist can provide you with an over-the-counter drug regimen that can help you keep your pain under control without exposing you to the risk of opioid addiction.
- Providing access to naloxone- Naloxone is an overdose-reversing drug that can save the lives of those who are experiencing an opioid overdose. It can be provided by a pharmacy, often without a prescription, to stop the effects of an overdose. By providing this drug for emergency use across the country, pharmacists help save lives and reduce the number of deaths due to opioid overdose.