No one plans to be an addict
“Opioid misuse is a disease. We don’t know who’s going to maybe go down that path,” says Heidi Eukel, associate professor in the NDSU School of Pharmacy. “No one expects after they have surgery, for example, to become an abuser of prescription pain medication.”
It’s just one of the reasons that makes a program called ONE (which stands for opioid and naloxone education) Rx so important.
The NDSU School of Pharmacy, North Dakota Pharmacists Association, North Dakota Board of Pharmacy, and North Dakota Department of Human Services announced the One Rx program, designed to move opioid misuse and overdose prevention to the initial patient encounter.
The innovative approach helps screen and educate patients who receive prescribed opioid medications at participating community pharmacies in the state. Through patient screening, pharmacists can complete a thorough assessment if a patient is more likely to experience an accidental overdose, even if taking the medication as prescribed.
“This program will provide tools to assist community pharmacists to do even more to ensure safe use of opioids,” says Mike Schwab, executive vice president of the North Dakota Pharmacists Association.
With ONE Rx, participating pharmacies receive three hours of free continuing education for each pharmacist, access to outcomes data to help serve their patients, and additional incentives dependent upon criteria and participation.
“ONE Rx is designed to equip pharmacists with tools to screen for opioid use disorder, identify patient needs and provide medication counseling and resources to safely use prescribed opioids,” says Mark Hardy, executive director of the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy.
How to participate in ONE Rx
Continuing education sessions taught by NDSU School of Pharmacy faculty are being held in Fargo, Bismarck and Minot in October and online sessions are available after October 1. Pharmacists can register for ONE Rx at www.nodakpharmacy.com/onerx.
Participating community pharmacies also will receive a toolkit with the resources needed to deliver this program of care. The program covers the science of addiction, opioid use and community support services. An Opioid Risk Tool assists pharmacists who are trained in identifying individuals who may be at higher risk of opioid misuse, allowing pharmacists to provide patient care and counseling as needed. This program also delivers education on the use of naloxone to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Grants totaling $150,648 from the North Dakota Department of Human Services, the Alex Stern Family Foundation and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota Caring Foundation make the program possible.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem calls opioid misuse an all-hands-on-deck problem.
“The feeder system for the heroin problem and the fentanyl problem in North Dakota is the opioid prescriptions because we know that about 80 percent of the people who become addicted to heroin started out with prescription medications,” says Stenehjem. “The pharmacists in North Dakota have been exceptionally diligent in working to play their part in reducing the epidemic in North Dakota,” he says.
For additional information about ONE Rx, contact Elizabeth Skoy, associate professor in the NDSU School of pharmacy at Elizabeth.Skoy@ndsu.edu.
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