In correlation with October’s American Pharmacists Month and National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) is aiming to increase awareness of pharmacists’ roles in substance use disorders.

With funding from Walmart, the project will provide student pharmacists with the tools to work within communities and educate patients on the misuse of prescription medications, while also breaking the stigma of substance abuse disorders and supporting recovery.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Walmart on this new initiative,” said Keith Marciniak, BSPharm, vice president of member relations at APhA, in a press release. “This patient care project provides an avenue for student pharmacists to use their passion to care for patients with substance use disorders. With hands-on training and experience working in their communities, students will have direct conversation with the public about medication misuse and addiction that will create a better tomorrow for our patients.”

All APhA-ASP chapters are eligible to participate by hosting community-based presentations and activities to educate and raise awareness about the issue. According to a press release, APhA-ASP patient care projects help prepare students for their role as leaders with their communities and to be empathetic patient care providers.

“It’s important the next generation of pharmacists is ready to recognize signs of opioid misuse of addition and communicate with patients effectively and with empathy to support recovery,” said Lisa Smith, PharmD, senior director of clinical excellence at Walmart, in a press release. “This new student-focused effort builds on the work we have done with AphA to ensure all practicing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians across the country are prepared to protect patients from the risks of prescription opioid misuse and abuse.”

The new project follows a collaboration with Walmart announced in August, which offers a free comprehensive online training program on opioid stewardship for all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians around the country. The program contains 6.5 hours of training and education, including a pain management curriculum.

REFERENCE
APhA-ASP to Launch Operation Substance Use Disorders Project with Support from Walmart [news release]. AphA, October 21, 2020. Email; accessed October 21, 2020.