ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Oct. 5, 2017)  The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) shared with Congress eight recommendations for leveraging independent community pharmacists' knowledge and proximity to patients to help address the opioid crisis. NCPA's statement to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions also included examples of how these small business health care providers are combatting the problem at the local level.

"NCPA is committed to working collaboratively with Members of Congress, the Administration, and other stakeholders in adopting viable solutions to prevent drug abuse and diversion," the letter states. "We believe there are efforts in the marketplace that are currently making a difference in the battle against opioid abuse and are scalable, such as expansion of consumer access to naloxone."

NCPA recommended the congressional committee take the following actions:
  • Expand consumer access to naloxone by allowing pharmacists to be able to directly prescribe it.
  • Establish limits on maximum day supply for certain controlled substances.
  • Prohibit certain controlled substances from being delivered to patients via physician offices or through the mail.
  • Expand electronic prescribing of controlled substances by mandating its use where feasible.
  • Enhance Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) by creating national standards.
  • Increase health care provider education by emphasizing a verification infrastructure with minimal administrative burdens.
  • Increase the usage and access to Medication Assisted Treatment.
  • Expand the ability of pharmacies to identify individuals with substance abuse disorders by participating in Screening, Brief, Intervention and Referral to Treatment activities.