There is no question that opioid abuse is fast becoming a Canadian epidemic. Pharmacists across the country are on the front line of dealing with opioid abuse and are often the first health care providers to notice a prescription drug problem in a patient. The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is deeply concerned about the growing crisis of opioid misuse in Canada and is committed to providing national leadership on this important issue. CPhA believes that tackling opioid abuse will require a multipronged approach with engagement of a cross section of stakeholders, including pharmacy. This includes a focus on:
- Addressing the root causes of opioid abuse
- Decreasing the inappropriate use of opioids
- Control and monitoring
- Supporting harm reduction strategies to assist those with addiction
The Role of Pharmacists
Pharmacists across the country are:
- Providing counselling to patients for the appropriate use of opioids and other controlled substances
- Assisting recovering addicts by dispensing drugs to treat addiction, such as methadone, suboxone, and naloxone, and providing regular support and follow-up.
What Are Pharmacists Saying?
CPhA’s Phil Emberley, Director of Professional Affairs, discusses the important role of pharmacists in tackling the opioid crisis.
- How to give naloxone nasal spray (CPhA)
- How to give naloxone injection in a few simple steps [en français] (Video - CPhA/UW Pharmacy)
- Fitting naloxone into community pharmacy practice (Canadian Pharmacists Journal)
- Naloxone for Opioid Overdose: What Pharmacists Need to Know (CPhA Webinar - member-only access)
- Naloxone Facts (Video - UW Pharmacy)
- Naloxone Administration (Video - UW Pharmacy)
- Naloxone Infographic (PDF - UW Pharmacy)
CPhA Opioid Action Plan
CPhA has identified three priority recommendations to improve how pharmacists help prevent prescription opioid misuse and abuse before it begins, including:
- New guidelines to improve the interdisciplinary approach to managing opioid use
- Accelerating the implementation of fully integrated electronic drug monitoring systems across the country
- Enabling pharmacists to adapt opioid prescriptions
For more information on CPhA's recommendations, see CPhA Opioid Action Plan.
Other CPhA Activities & Statements
CPhA signs joint action plan to tackle Canada's opioid crisis
November 19, 2016—The Canadian Pharmacists Association is pleased with the meaningful discussions held at this weekend’s Opioid Conference and Summit and is encouraged by the commitments made in the multi-stakeholder joint action plan.
CPhA recommends priority areas to combat Canada's opioid crisis
November 16, 2016—National strategy must authorize pharmacists to adapt opioid prescriptions and improve use of electronic drug monitoring systems to support responsible prescribing.
Opioid Crisis in Canada — Standing Committee on Health
October 18, 2016—Alistair Bursey, Chair, and Phil Emberley, Director of Professional Affairs, appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health as part of its study on the Opioid Crisis in Canada.
Letter to Minister of Health on health accord priorities
October 14, 2016—CPhA sent a letter to the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, urging FPT health ministers to make the opioid crisis a priority at the annual conference of FPT Ministers of Health.
CPhA applauds announcement of opioid summit
July 27, 2016—CPhA applauds the announcement by Health Minister Jane Philpott to convene an opioid summit later this fall to develop an action plan on opioids, something that CPhA first called for in 2015.
CPhA welcomes Health Canada decision to revise prescription status of naloxone
March 22, 2016—CPhA welcomes the decision by Health Canada to revise the federal prescription status of naloxone, a medication that has the potential to significantly reduce the frequency of deaths that occur with opioid overdoses.
CPhA statement on fentanyl misuse
August 25, 2015—CPhA shares the concern of other health professionals, regulators, law enforcement and government about the growing number of reported overdoses and deaths in Canada related to fentanyl misuse and calls for urgent attention to address this burgeoning crisis.