Online Program

Pharmacists' views of abuse and misuse of opioids in Maine

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sarah Martin, PhD, Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, Husson University School of Pharmacy, Bangor, ME
Brian Piper, PhD, Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, Husson University School of Pharmacy, Bangor, ME
Matthew Rodney, Husson University School of Pharmacy, Bangor
Opioid addiction and abuse continues to be a problem in the U.S. The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population, yet consumes 80% of the world’s opioids. One epicenter of the crisis is Maine, where 21.9% of the population received at least one opioid prescription in 2014. In 2014, we conducted a survey of licensed pharmacists in Maine to assess their views regarding practice needs in Maine, including views on opioids.

A structured survey was developed based upon the “needs” identified by key informants. The survey was sent to all licensed pharmacists in the State (n=1,262). A 22% response rate was achieved (n=279). Survey questions included pharmacy practice setting (e.g., retail), years of experience, urban/rural locality, and views on practice needs. Questions regarding opiates included misuse, diversion, theft, and legitimate access; each assessed on a 6-point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree and 6=strongly agree).

            Views of opiate misuse varied by setting (F=2.15, p=0.04). Pharmacists working in long term care agreed that misuse was an issue to a lesser degree than those working in retail (mean score 4.79 vs 5.56, respectively). Views of opioids did not vary by years in practice; however educational attainment (PharmD vs R.Ph.) influenced views on diversion (4.84 vs 5.15, p=0.02). Pharmacists serving rural populations viewed legitimate access (mean = 4.54 vs 4.12, p=0.02) and theft (4.45 vs 4.02, p=0.03) as bigger concerns than those serving urban populations.

             These findings indicate that opioid misuse and diversion are a sizeable problem, and of particular note to Maine pharmacists.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe differing views of the use, misuse, and abuse of opioids in Maine.

Keyword(s): Prescription Drug Abuse and Misuse, Pharmacists

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have 25 years of public health experience; 15 as an epidemiologist. I was awarded in-house funds to conduct this survey research to assess the pharmacy practice needs within the state of Maine.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.