Educating Public on Naloxone Options Key to Dealing with Opioid Epidemic


Public perceptions on naloxone may differ by community.

A combination of educational efforts is required to help the public become aware of the epidemic of opioid abuse, according to data presented in a poster presentation at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) 2017 Annual Meeting & Exposition (APhA2017) being held in San Francisco this weekend.

Donnie Allison, PharmD, who is a West Virginia University-Kroger Community Pharmacy Resident, spoke with Pharmacy Times about the poster, noting that the research highlighted a need for more education not only about opioid abuse, but also about response options like naloxone.

Dr. Allison and colleagues in West Virigina recruited patients to complete surveys at 4 supermarket chain pharmacies about opioid overdose and naloxone availability, and then asked the survey participants to watch a short video on naloxone administration. The survey participants then repeated a post-educational survey.

Survey questions focused on perceptions of opioid overdoses in the survey participants' communities, attitudes toward physicians who prescribe opioids, and also concerns about naloxone, including whether availabilty of naloxone would worsen the opioid abuse epidemic because of the availability of naloxone.

The researchers noted that attitudes about the scope of the opioid abuse epidemic varied by community, with all of the communities ageeing that "opioid overdoses are frequent/severe locally."

The "before analysis" in each urban community typically noted a more skeptical outlook about the opioid epidemic than in the suburban communities, Dr. Allison said; however, the post-education analysis revealed a more accepting attitude about naloxone in each community, with participants in "each and every store, noting that naloxone was going to play a bigger role in their lives than they previously thought."


Allison D, Capehart K, Gooden S. Evaluation of patient perceptions and knowledge of naloxone and opioid overdoses before and after pharmacist education. Presented at: American Pharmacists Association 2017 Annual Meeting & Exhibition. March 24-27, 2017; San Francisco.

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