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Addressing Drug Addiction Issues 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.

Click here for the DEA report for Pennsylvania for the 2016 overdose death rates.



Allied Against Opioid Abuse - (AAOA) Pharmacy Toolkit 

PPA has partnered with the AAOA.  The AAOA is a national education and awareness initiative to help prevent the abuse and misuse of prescription opioids.  Click here for the pharmacy toolkit.



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 made a commitment to be a leader in the state in addressing this problem and has put together a Task Force called our Addressing Opioid Addiction and Abuse and within that task force has formed several work groups including:  Naloxone, PDMP, Dispensing Guidelines/Practices, and Treatment Options. Additionally, programming at conferences and through webinars and on demand CEs continue to bring awareness about the issue to the forefront of our members.


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. Learn more about our resources below.

Pennsylvania Department of Health - Opioid Abuse Information: This page includes a host of resources on naloxone. http://www.health.pa.gov/My%20Health/Diseases%20and%20Conditions/M-P/opioids/Pages/Naloxone.aspx#.Wp2Rz3xG2po


Stocking and Dispensing Naloxone

Find out more information, including patient stories, how to implement, and registries on PPA's Naloxone Toolkit.  Click here to view this Toolkit.


Pharmacy Medication Drug Take-Back Program

This letter from the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol outlines how pharmacists can fight the opioid epidemic by encouraging people to get rid of unwanted or unused prescription medications.  Click here to view this letter.  


Medication Disposal

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 and are also approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy.


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 Department of Health:  (ALL are also available by clicking here)

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