The pharmacist's new role in the opioid epidemic: showing customers how to reverse overdoses


In the midst of the opioid epidemic, more pharmacists are receiving naloxone training to teach their customers how to use the overdose reversal treatment, according to STAT.

Pharmacists are getting certified to administer naloxone in response to the opioid epidemic.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, has urged that naloxone become universally available.

Pharmacists previously have helped combat the opioid epidemic by counseling patients who have beenprescribed high-dose opioids and taking part in drug-monitoring programs  to make sure they are not prescribed risky combinations of other drugs with pain medication. Showing patients how to use naloxone is a new frontier.

"We all have fire extinguishers," Sarah Melton,MD, a professor of pharmacy at East Tennessee State University and the lead trainer at a recent conference that taught pharmacists how to assemble naloxone kits and administer it, told STAT.

Like that fire extinguisher, naloxone is a logical precaution pharmacists can use to help their customers become "lay rescuers," Ms. Melton said.

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