Lawrence B. Staubach, MD, MBA;
Travis E. Brown, PhD.;
Lisa J. Ohnstad
University of Wyoming
To determine whether pharmacists are ready to identify and intervene in prescription drug abuse, determine what tools pharmacists currently use to identify patients at risk for or are currently abusing prescription drugs and to examine the perceived barriers that may hinder pharmacistsâ€™ willingness to identify or intervene.
A phenomenological approach combined with inductive thematic analysis was undertaken where semi-structured, key informant interviews with licensed Wyoming pharmacists were conducted by phone at the University of Wyoming, from August 2014 to September 2014. These interviews examined rural pharmacistsâ€™ readiness to recognize and intervene in suspected prescription drug abuse. This study examined several aspects of community pharmacistsâ€™ readiness including the following: (1) personal experience with prescription drug abuse (2) skills and educational preparation (3) self-perceived competence, confidence, and willingness to identify and intervene in the care of patients (4) barriers and facilitators to the process.
Wyoming pharmacists reported a readiness and willingness to educate themselves to better identify prescription drug seeking behavior, but their readiness to intervene differed among participants. Pharmacists identified a number of key barriers that are currently hindering their ability to intervene including time, business pressures, and physicians. A majority of participants relied heavily on the Wyoming Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (WORx) for identifying potential abuse. However, participants reported a willingness to learn additional techniques that could improve their identification of drug seeking behaviors.
The results suggest that Wyoming pharmacists are ready and willing to identify patients that may be abusing prescription drugs, but are hesitant to intervene. Work experience prepared participants to deal with drug seeking behavior more than their education.