NACDS expands recommendations for opioid abuse prevention

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NACDS expands recommendations for opioid abuse prevention

By Sandra Levy - 05/31/2019
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores this week announced four additional policy recommendations for opioid abuse prevention. The new proposals build on current policies backed by NACDS, which are achieving results at the federal and state levels, NACDS said.

The new recommendations include:

  • Prescription drug monitoring program, or PDMP improvements;

  • Reforms in health-plan design to help identify and treat patients with substance abuse disorders;

  • Improved coverage for pain-management treatments other than opioids; and

  • Enabling patient access to naloxone – the overdose antidote – when opioids are prescribed.

The recommendations complement NACDS’ ongoing focus on such efforts as a seven-day supply limit for a patient’s first opioid prescription to treat acute pain with certain exceptions, as well as mandatory electronic prescribing, a nationwide PDMP and flexible drug-disposal opportunities.

“Pharmacy remains focused on serving as part of the solution to opioid abuse, and on preserving the treatment of chronic pain. These new policies reflect our ongoing commitment to the well-being of patients and communities, and our collaboration with the broader health and enforcement communities,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said.

NACDS’ announcement of new opioid abuse prevention policies follows several of its platform planks being part of legislation that has become law.

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, enacted in 2018 with NACDS at the bill-signing ceremony, is particularly strong in its requirement for e-prescribing of controlled substances under Medicare Part D. In addition, with legislation currently on governors’ desks, nearly half of the states soon will have enacted e-prescribing requirements.

Regarding initial opioid supply limits for acute, or temporary, pain, NACDS currently is advocating for the John S. McCain Opioid Addiction Prevention Act (S. 724/H.R. 614).

NACDS noted that a January 2019 national poll of registered voters it commissioned from Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS found high trust in pharmacy’s role in opioid abuse prevention. By a 2-to-1 margin, pharmacies and pharmacists are considered more as part of the solution than as part of the problem of opioid abuse. Additionally, 7-in-10 voters said they support leveraging pharmacies’ role to help solve related issues.