In Philadelphia, fatal overdoses have been increasing over the last several years. In 2017, there were 1,217 overdose deaths, a 34% increase from 2016. About 80% of these overdoses involved opioids. For more than 40 years, medical professionals have been safely using naloxone, a prescription drug that reverses the effects of opioids on the brain and respiratory system, to prevent death. Hospitals and other organizations have begun to train lay people to use naloxone. In an effort to improve access, Pennsylvania instituted a naloxone standing order (NSO). The NSO allows pharmacists to dispense naloxone to members of the community who are at risk of encountering overdose victims. The NSO puts pharmacists on the frontline of the opioid crisis. Previous studies have found that pharmacists face challenges, including inadequate training, when dispensing naloxone to their patients who wish to have the drug on hand in order to save a friend, family member, and others at risk of overdose. Pharmacy programs have been preparing students to face these challenges, however little is known about student perspectives on the NSO and related issues. We piloted an online,15-item Qualtrics survey at Thomas Jefferson University, which explored pharmacy students’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about the NSO and the role of the pharmacist in naloxone distribution. Respondents (n=114) reported learning about dispensing naloxone to patients in the classroom and in their clinical rotations. Responses varied slightly by year in training. Many students 44%, (n=49) disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement, “In my experience I have enough time to educate patients on naloxone use” and 38% (n=42) of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with that statement, “I have been adequately trained on how to administer naloxone.” Additionally, 46% (n=52) of respondents did not know where to refer a patient who could not afford to pay for naloxone. Our results suggest that while pharmacy students are receiving training, barriers to, and comfort with, educating patients persist.
Cambareri, Katherine; Frasso, PhD, MSc, CPH, Rosemary; and Maio, PharmD, MS, MSPH, Vittorio, "A Pilot Study to Assess Pharmacy Students’ Experiences With Naloxone" (2019). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 292.