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Pharmacy Law - A Focus on Opioid Prescriptions

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Overview

From 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 people died in the United States from a drug overdose. About 400,000 of these deaths involved both prescription and illicit opioids (eg, heroin); 218,000 deaths involved prescription opioids. In 2017 alone, there were more than 70,000 overdose deaths, with nearly 70% involving opioids. This was a 10% increase from 2016, when there were 63,632 overdose deaths and two-thirds involved opioids.

The current rise in opioid overdose deaths can be described in three distinct phases. The first phase began in 1999 following an increase in the prescribing of opioids during the 1990s, due in part to a new, patient-centered focus on relieving pain as the 5th vital sign. The second phase began in 2010, with rapid increases in overdose deaths involving heroin. The third phase began in 2013, with significant increases in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids (eg, tramadol, fentanyl), especially illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Although the opioid overdose epidemic has evolved and worsened in recent years, provisional data from 2018 indicates potential improvements in some overdose indicators. However, a final analysis will be necessary to confirm this change.

Since 2012, opioid prescribing rates have declined, suggesting that prescribers have become more cautious in their prescribing practices. However, prescriptions for opioids continue to contribute to the epidemic, with more than 35% of all opioid overdose deaths specifically involving prescription opioids. Prescription opioid use is a risk factor for illicit drug abuse, such as with heroin or fentanyl. Evidence suggests that most individuals became addicted to illicit opioids after using prescription opioids...

Details

Publication Date: 06/25/2019
Expiration Date: 06/25/2022
CE Credit: 2.0 (0.20 CEU)
Type of Activity: Knowledge-based

This program was developed by The Rx Consultant and published by Continuing Education Network, Inc. The Rx Consultant accepts no advertising or financial support from the pharmaceutical industry and is funded solely by the purchase of programs. The Rx Consultant is dedicated to providing unbiased, balanced information to health care practitioners.

Programs developed by The Rx Consultant are written by health care providers with expertise in the topic area, peer-reviewed, extensively edited, and fact-checked. This development process was created to insure that every program presents information that is current, accurate, relevant to "real world" health care providers, and written in an easy reading, "plain English" style.

Authors

Kimberly Burns RPh, JD is a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) School of Pharmacy in Erie, Pennsylvania. She is a co-author of the textbook Pharmacy Practice and the Law. 9th ed. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2019.

Disclosure Statement

Guest Editorial Advisor

Dr. Burns reports no financial relationship with the manufacturer(s) or provider(s) of any commercial product(s) or service(s) that appear in this issue.

Target Audience

This accredited program is targeted to pharmacists .

Goals & Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

    1. Explain the Corresponding Responsibility Doctrine; determine if a prescription is valid and identify “red flags” that should raise reasonable suspicion of a prescription’s validity.
    2. Summarize current laws and guidelines that are in place to limit the duration and dosing of opioid prescriptions. Discuss the importance of morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) for commonly prescribed opioids.
    3. Provide examples of effective communication with patients and prescribers that helps ensure that prescriptions are being used safely and lawfully.

Accreditation Statements

The Rx Consultant is a publication of Continuing Education Network, Inc.

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Continuing Education Network, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

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Continuing Education Network is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 13118. Programs approved by CA BRN are accepted by most State Boards of Nursing.

ACPE Universal Activity Number: 0428-0000-19-008-H03-P


Exam & Credit Statement Procedures

Upon successful completion of this program and the post test (70%), 2.0 hours of continuing education credit will be awarded. To receive credit and your exam score, please complete the exam questions and program evaluation.

Editorial and Review Board

Chief Editor and CE Administrator


Terry M. Baker, PharmD

Managing Editor


Tracy Farnen, PharmD

Associate Editors


James Chan, PharmD, PhD
Pharmacy Quality and Outcomes Coordinator
Kaiser Permanente
Oakland, CA

Associate Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Richard Ron Finley, B.S. Pharm.,R.Ph.
Clinical Pharmacist (volunteer faculty)
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Memory and Aging Center
Lecturer (Emeritus) UCSF, Department of Clinical Pharmacy
Health Sciences Clinical Professor, UCSF School of Pharmacy
San Francisco, CA

Consultant Pharmacist
Ray Dolby Brain Health Center, Sutter Health/CPMC
San Francisco, CA

Consult Pharmacist Aging and Adult Health Services
San Francisco Health Department
San Francisco, CA

Julio R. Lopez, PharmD, FCSHP
Chief of Pharmacy Service
VA Northern California Health Care System

Adjunct Clinical Professor
College of Pharmacy
Touro University
Vallejo, CA

Assistant Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA Adjunct Professor
Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy
University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA

Visiting Associate Professor and Lecturer
Nursing School
Samuel Merritt University
Oakland, CA

Pamela Mausner, MD

Helen Berlie, Pharm.D. CDE, BCACP
Clinical Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI

Ambulatory Care Specialist - Diabetes
Health Centers Detroit Medical Group
Detroit, MI

Senior Editorial Advisor


Gerard Hatheway, PharmD, PhD

Editorial Advisors


Belinda M. Danielson, RPh
Christopher M. DeSoto, PharmD
Angie S. Graham, PharmD
Cynthia Chan Huang, PharmD, MBA
Fred Plageman, PharmD

Editorial Advisor and Clinical Practice Consultant for Nurse Practitioners


Emily K.
Meuleman, RN, C, MS

About the Rx Consultant

The Rx Consultant is a monthly publication dedicated to providing health care professionals with the information they need to educate patients about drugs and manage drug therapy. The reader is responsible for confirming the information presented here and interpreting it in relation to each patient's specific situation before utilizing the information.

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