NACDS Expands Recommendations for Opioid Abuse Prevention

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Based on pharmacists’ experiences, new policies build on existing initiatives to prevent abuse and to protect pain treatment

Pharmacy remains focused on serving as part of the solution to opioid abuse, and on preserving the treatment of chronic pain. These new policies reflect our ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of patients and communities, and our collaboration with the broader health and enforcement communities.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) has announced four more policy recommendations for opioid abuse prevention. The new proposals build on current policies backed by NACDS, which are achieving results at the federal and state levels.

The new recommendations include:

  • Prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) improvements;
  • Reforms in health-plan design to help identify and treat patients with substance abuse disorders;
  • Improved coverage for pain-management treatments other than opioids; and
  • Enabling patient access to naloxone – the overdose antidote – when opioids are prescribed.

They complement NACDS’ ongoing focus on:

  • A seven-day supply limit for a patient’s first opioid prescription to treat acute, or temporary, pain – with important exceptions;
  • Mandatory electronic prescribing to prevent fraud and abuse;
  • A nationwide, collaborative PDMP; and
  • Flexible drug-disposal opportunities.

“Pharmacy remains focused on serving as part of the solution to opioid abuse, and on preserving the treatment of chronic pain. These new policies reflect our ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of patients and communities, and our collaboration with the broader health and enforcement communities,” said NACDS President & CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM. CAE.

NACDS’ announcement of new opioid abuse prevention policies follows success for its existing platform. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, enacted in 2018 with NACDS at the bill-signing ceremony, is particularly strong in its requirement for e-prescribing of controlled substances under Medicare Part D. In addition, with legislation currently on governors’ desks, nearly half of the states soon will have enacted e-prescribing requirements.

Regarding initial opioid supply limits for acute, or temporary, pain, NACDS currently is advocating for the John S. McCain Opioid Addiction Prevention Act (S. 724/H.R. 614).

These recommendations build on pharmacies’ ongoing focus on opioid-abuse prevention, including compliance programs, drug disposal, patient education, security initiatives, fostering naloxone access, stopping illegal online drug-sellers and rogue clinics, philanthropic programs and more.

A January 2019 national poll of registered voters conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS found remarkable trust in pharmacy’s role in opioid-abuse prevention. By a two-to-one margin, pharmacies and pharmacists are considered more as part of the solution than as part of the problem of opioid abuse. Seven-in-ten voters support leveraging pharmacies’ role to help solve related issues.

Ongoing coverage of opioid abuse prevention topics is available at NACDS.org.

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Chris Krese
NACDS
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