The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) announced the passage of the bipartisan opioid bill package by the U.S. House of Representatives this week.
The APhA supported the 18 bills in the package. It worked closely with the House as staff developed ways to fund the development and implementation of programs to fight the opioid abuse epidemic.
“Pharmacists are an important, but often an underutilized resource in the fight against prescription drug abuse,” APhA EVP and CEO Thomas Menighan said. “Pharmacists work closely with patients to provide education about pain medications, improve pain management and monitor for signs of abuse, misuse and overdose.”
The bills focus on primarily on prescription drug abuse, including opioids, and treatment programs and prevention efforts. The APhA identified ways that pharmacists and other health professionals can work to help patients while reducing prescription abuse. Provisions for prescription drug monitoring programs and treatment of acute and chronic pain were included in the bills package.
“Research has demonstrated, and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services has recognized, that a trust-based relationship between a patient and pharmacist is an important component of care,” Menighan stated. “Given the relationship between mental health, chronic pain and substance abuse, fostering relationships between an at-risk patient and their providers becomes even more important.”