Pharmacy Conference

HEALing Communities Study is offering free home-study continuing education credits for pharmacists: The pharmacy role in addressing the opioid epidemic

Four New York counties that are participating in the HEALing Communities Study – Cayuga, Columbia, Putnam, and Suffolk – are partnering with the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to provide free continuing education credits to all pharmacists interested in exploring their role in mitigating the impacts of the opioid crisis in their communities. The conference series was held and taped in October 2021 and is now available for home-study.

Pharmacists are medication experts with extensive training and their advice is respected by their clients. They are often involved in public health responses, such as immunizations and tobacco cessation management. Pharmacists also have a unique role in public health through harm reduction and consumer engagement. We invite all pharmacists in the county to attend this educational opportunity and help reduce opioid overdose deaths.

Register for one or all sessions at Click on "View All Programs" under "Home Study Activities" to view the available sessions with the following titles and learning objectives:

The opioid epidemic, impacts of COVID-19, and how pharmacists can reduce overdose deaths through increasing access to naloxone

Speaker: Veronica Salvas, MPH, Epidemiologist, Healing Communities Study, Columbia County, NY

  1. Recognize the magnitude of the opioid epidemic and appreciate the increased risk of overdose associated with the COVID-19 pandemic nationally and within NY State.
  2. Recall temporal and geographic trends in naloxone dispensing via pharmacies and appreciate the need for increased access to naloxone, particularly in suburban and rural communities.
  3. Review consumer reported barriers to accessing naloxone via pharmacy dosing data from NEXT Distro, a web and mail-based harm reduction and naloxone distribution program.
  4. Consider ways pharmacists can use a harm reduction approach to increase access to naloxone through lessening the impacts of reported barriers; lack of transportation to the pharmacy, high cost of naloxone, lack of awareness of where to access naloxone, and stigma against people who use drugs.

Equity in access: Naloxone, medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), and COVID-19 services

Speaker: Dr. Dawn Goddard-Eckrich, Ed.D., Associate Research Scientist, School of Social Work, Columbia University

  1. Describe disparities around MOUD, naloxone, COVID-19 testing and vaccine at the pharmacy level.
  2. Recognize the role pharmacy policies have in contributing to stigma and barriers to opioid treatment and engagement (i.e. space, stocking, ID's, advertising, training) and the importance of using non-stigmatizing language when interacting with colleagues and patients.
  3. Recall Group Model Building (GMB) and how this community engagement approach and data can be used to reduce the disparities.
  4. Review pharmacy and pharmacist's role to reduce health disparities and support overdose prevention.

Medication for addiction treatment: Pharmacology, misconceptions, and myths

Speaker: Kelly Ramsey MD, MPH, MA, FACP, FASAM, President-elect for The New York Society of Addiction Medicine and the Regional Director (representing the state of New York) for the national American Society of Addiction Medicine, Board of Directors

  1. Describe low-threshold evidence-based interventions to reduce overdose deaths, including distribution of naloxone and use of fentanyl test strips.
  2. Identify best practices in pharmacy settings for dispensing MAT/MOUD with a focus on buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone.
  3. Recall best practices in pharmacy settings when working/engaging with people with opioid use disorder (OUD) and people who use drugs (PWUD).
  4. Define reframing diversion as “community redistribution” & prevalence of MAT/MOUD sourcing outside of clinical settings.
  5. Relate policy updates on MAT/MOUD.
  6. List common myths/misconceptions associated with MAT/MOUD.

Harm reduction for pharmacists

Speaker: Emma Roberts, Director, Capacity Building Services, National Harm Reduction Coalition

  1. Develop an understanding of best practices for pharmacists in engaging patients in harm reduction interventions, including overdose prevention, safer use options, and providing opioid use disorder treatment.
  2. Cultivate a harm-reduction 'friendly' environment with the use of patient-centered communication strategies and patient materials.
  3. Describe syringe access laws and their implementation in the pharmacy setting.
  4. Assess utilization of opioid agonist treatments currently available in community pharmacy settings.
  5. Identify the purpose and utility of fentanyl test strips, given the current rise in opioid overdose rates in stimulants.

Optimizing pharmacy interventions in New York State

Speaker: Sharon Stancliff, MD, Associate Medical Director, AIDS Institute, NYS Department of Health

  1. Identify the Opioid Overdose Prevention Program and how it works in New York State in pharmacies.
  2. Describe and present a brief training to a patient requesting naloxone.
  3. Identify how the Naloxone Co-payment Assistance Program (N-CAP) works.
  4. Discuss the rationale and regulations regarding the Expanded Syringe Access Program.
  5. Find Drug User Health Hubs and syringe access programs near their pharmacies.

Response to the opioid crisis: Legal dimensions and harm reduction

Speaker: Karl Williams, RPh, JD, St. John Fisher College, President, Pharmacists Society of the State of New York, Professor, Wegmans School of Pharmacy

  1. Describe New York State laws surrounding dispensing of controlled substances and opioids.
  2. Review regulatory responses intended to mitigate the opioid epidemic: rules, regulations, and changes.
  3. Review required counseling items and revisioning the role of the pharmacists in pharmacists in dispensing opiates and opioid use.
  4. Propose an expanded role for pharmacists in combatting the opioid crisis.

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