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    How pharmacists should be fighting the heroin epidemic

    Addiction is a brain disease. Once we as individuals in the healthcare profession finally begin to accept addiction as a disease and not a moral failing, the affected individuals will have a better chance at recovery and we will gain a better understanding of this epidemic.

    Editor’s Choice: 2015’s Top Cities for pharmacists

    Lauren Heroux-Camirand, pharmacistIf we see that patient standing before us, seeking their oxycodone 30mg. tab #240 to be filled 14 days early, as a “hopeless junkie,” and dispense the prescription anyway without discussion or questions, it is us as pharmacists failing to provide adequate care for those “hopeless junkies.”

    I had the privilege of participating in the new HBO documentary, Heroin: Cape Cod, USA. I also attended the premiere with many of the affected individuals followed in the film.

    I have seen many addicts and alcoholics over the years, and those young adults from the film were some of the most hurt and struggling, yet inspiring, courageous, and sensitive people I have seen.

    They were not dirty, street-scum crackheads. They are someone’s child, parent, brother, or sister. This is not a skid-row disease, and that timeworn thinking has to change in order to help make an impact.

    We must act on opportunities as they arise. When an opiate-naïve patient presents a prescription of a high-dose, long-term supply narcotic, we need to ask questions. Talk to our patients. Most importantly, we need to listen.


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    • BobKatz
      Substance abuse is made up of two components. The first is tablet abuse such as Percocet, Oxycontin, Vicodin etc and the second is powder abuse such as Heroin, Cocaine, Opium, etc. Tablet abuse can be significantly eliminated by controlling the three components that exist which is a prescriber, a pharmacist, ad a wholesaler. The prescriber uses the excuse in my professional opinion this is what the patient needs, the pharmacist states I am hear to fill prescriptions not to play detective and the wholesaler will say as long as the DEA forms are filled out correctly I will fill the order. Just think of all the health specialties and you will find less then 5% of physicians actually would have a need for writing large amounts. These individuals should be board certified in pain management and have a special DEA number and needs authorization to prescribe large amounts. They also have to spell out the quantity rather then write the number which can be altered. The pharmacist must check the specialty of the physician. I had a perfectly written script for 120 Percocet. The reason why this was a fraud was that the customer was 46 years old and the physician was a pediatrician. The whoelsaler has to keep alert and do a comparison of amounts ordered to their various clients. Powder abuse is much more difficult to control. The cartels through out the world are not going to invite authorities and show them all the areas where the plants grow and let one destroy them I believe early education showing the effects of these substances will be a determent and enforcing the rules that should be used to keep the tablets off the street will save lives. Someone what inconvenient yes saving lives absolutely
    • RebeccaGlover
      Your comments are admirable and timely and much needed.. As the clinical pharmacist for Watauga Recovery Centers I spend a lot of time educating the local pharmacists on what we do, how we do it and why. These patients are no less deserving of our respect and care than an upper middle class society matron. In fact, maybe even more so because of where they have been and what they have been through. Thank you for your article. Rebecca Glover RPh. BSPharm Clinical Pharmacist Watauga Recovery Center Abingdon, Va. 24210 276-206-8197
    • SteveAriens
      Here is a list of what killed us in 2015 and drug overdoses is way down on page two out of three.. and there are more people who OD on OTC than opiates http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=13073