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Addressing Drug Diversion and Appropriate Opioid Use

The Problem:

Drug diversion and prescription drug abuse have created a crisis across the United States. Pennsylvania has the 14th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the country. This corresponds to 15.3 per 100,000 people suffering drug overdose fatalities. The number of overdose deaths, a majority from prescription drugs, in Pennsylvania has increased nearly 90% over the last 15 years. These troubling statistics plague our commonwealth as we are faced with this great challenge.

Addressing the Problem:

While the problem may never be completely resolved, a multi-faceted collaboration of healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, prescribers, and patients are working together to reduce the impact of this crisis.


PPA has developed resources to help pharmacists prevent drug diversion and recognize prescription drug abuse. Pharmacists typically see a patient more times per year than any other healthcare professional. Knowing the signs and what to do when you see them could prove to be crucial in saving your patient’s life.

Pennsylvania Department of Health - Opioid Abuse Information

This page includes a host of resources on naloxone.

Click here for this link.


Pharmacists Opioid Dispensing Guidelines

Opioid Dispensing Guidelines - These Guidelines developed by the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health, in order to provide assistance and Guidance to pharmacists on addressing diversion issues.  The Guidelines are a complement to the Prescribing ones that appear below.


Pharmacy Podcast interviews Thomas Franko, Chair of PPA's Opioid Dispensing Guidelines task force.  To listen to the podcast, click here.


Prescribing Guidelines

The following Guidelines have been endorsed and promoted by the PA Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) and Health:

Addressing Pennsylvania's Opioid Crisis: What the Health Care Team Needs to Know

Special CE Series - No Cost

These continuing education programs are a collaboration between numerous groups including the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association, the Pennsylvania Medical Society, the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and others. Each session consists of four, 15-minute modules. The programs cover a variety of tools and resources for prescribers and dispensers to better address opioid addiction with their patients.

Click here to access these sessions


Pennsylvania's New Prescription Monitoring Program Is Coming

The implementation of the new ABC-MAP program has been announced by the DA Department of Health.  Registration for pharmacies began on March 9, 2016.  You must start reporting to the system on June 24, 2016.  Please see the following communications.

1. Bulletin announcing implementation and instruction

2. PA ABC-MAP Dispenser Guide


DEA Information:

Aware Rx:

APhA Opioid Resource Center

Click here for this link.


The U.S. Surgeon General took historic action by sending a personal letter to more than 2.3 million health care practitioners and public health leaders. He is seeking our help to address the prescription opioid crisis. PPA wants to make sure you see his letter, a copy of which is accessible at http://turnthetiderx.org/# . Please take a moment to read it. Then go to www.TurnTheTideRx.org/join to join with clinicians and public health leaders from across the country in a simple but powerful movement to end this epidemic.  Read the letter. Take the pledge. And spread the word.  Together, we can #TurnTheTide and save countless lives. 

CDC Poison Prevention Campaign

Up and Away and Out of Sight: Poisoning Prevention Campaign
Out of sight really is out of mind! CDC and project partners announced a new poisoning prevention campaign aimed at protecting children from unintentional medication overdoses. Up and Away and Out of Sight outlines the steps families can take to ensure safe medicine storage. Each year, one out of every 150 two-year-olds in the United States visits an emergency department for an unintentional medication overdose, most often after finding and eating or drinking medicines without adult supervision. For more information about the Up and Away and Out of Sight educational program, visit www.UpAndAway.org  or in Spanish www.UpAndAway.org/es


Medication Disposal

Opioid Prescribing

The Report of the Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation presents a comprehensive review of the problems of illicit use and abuse, and the actions being taken by state agencies, healthcare and addiction service providers, and law enforcement. The report includes the Advisory Committee’s recommendations to further curtail the tragic consequences of opioid abuse.  For the full report click here.


FDA Blueprint for Prescriber Education for ER/LA Opioid Analgesics. Contained in the document are links to FDA and REMS, including some rather helpful Medication Guides and Patient Counseling Documents.

CDC Vital Signs - July 2014. Opioid painkiller prescribing and where one lives makes a difference.

SBIRT: Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is an evidenced-based practice used to identify, reduce, and prevent problematic use, abuse, and dependence on alcohol and drugs. Typically, this practice is conducted in medical settings, including community health centers, and has proved successful in hospitals, specialty medical practices such as HIV/STD clinics, emergency departments, and workplace wellness programs such as Employee Assistance Programs. Please click here to view an issue brief about SBIRT.


Click here for more information on SBIRT training programs.

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