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Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association
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CPhA recommends priority areas to combat Canada's opioid crisis

National strategy must authorize pharmacists to adapt opioid prescriptions and improve use of electronic drug monitoring systems to support responsible prescribing

November 16, 2016 (Ottawa): In the lead up to the national Opioid Conference and Summit, co-hosted by Minister Philpott and Minister Hoskins, CPhA is calling for a multi-pronged action plan that addresses the root causes of opioid abuse or misuse, ensures appropriate prescribing, and supports addiction management therapy for those struggling with dependency.

CPhA is among a group of experts, stakeholders, and health professionals selected by government who will meet this Friday and Saturday at the federal government’s national Opioid Conference and Summit to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the growing problem of opioid misuse and abuse, and associated overdose deaths. CPhA will be bringing forward three priority recommendations to the summit including:

  1. New guidelines to improve the interdisciplinary approach to managing opioid use
  2. Accelerating the implementation of fully integrated electronic drug monitoring systems across the country
  3. Enabling pharmacists to adapt opioid prescriptions

Addressing these three priorities would go a long way toward improving the care pharmacists provide to patients and help to prevent opioid misuse and abuse before it begins.  “Allowing pharmacists to adapt opioid prescriptions – for example, tapering a patient’s prescription by reducing the quantity where appropriate – means that the profession can do even more to help prevent patients from becoming addicted,” said Phil Emberley, Director of Professional Affairs, Canadian Pharmacists Association.

These solutions also protect vital patient access to opioids in situations where these medications are the most effective treatment and highlight the need for a collaborative approach to pain management amongst health care providers. “A fully integrated system would ensure that pharmacists and prescribers have access to the information they need to help patients manage their use of opioids,” said Alistair Bursey, Chair, Canadian Pharmacists Association. “It would flag inappropriate prescribing and greatly reduce prescription “shopping” which occurs when those who are addicted visit multiple prescribers to obtain the same prescription.”

Canadian pharmacists across the country are on the front lines of opioid stewardship. As Canada’s most accessible health care provider, pharmacists help identify cases of opioid misuse and abuse, and help patients manage addiction and dependency through counseling and dispensing of opioid replacement therapies.

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About the Canadian Pharmacists Association

The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is the uniting national voice of pharmacy and the pharmacist profession in Canada. As pharmacists undertake an enhanced role in the delivery of health care services, CPhA ensures that the profession is recognized as a national leader in health care, influencing the policies, programs, budgets and initiatives affecting the profession and the health of Canadians. More information is available at www.pharmacists.ca.

For more information, contact:

Stefi Proulx
Media and Stakeholder Relations