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Can Pharm J (Ott). 2019 Aug 13;152(6):376-387. doi: 10.1177/1715163519865914. eCollection 2019 Nov-Dec.

An evaluation of Alberta pharmacists' practices, views and confidence regarding prescription drug abuse and addiction within their practice setting.

Author information

Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (Necyk, Cor), University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Alberta Health Services (Mazzuca), Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Canada Safeway (Meleshko), Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.



Pharmacists play an important role in managing patients with prescription drug abuse and addiction (PDAA). The objective of this study was to explore Alberta pharmacists' practices, views and confidence in the management of patients at risk of or living with PDAA in their practice setting.


A 26-question online questionnaire was distributed to 4261 pharmacists across Alberta, of whom 656 (15%) participated. The questionnaire consisted of 17 multiple-choice, 6 multipart and 3 free-response questions. Questionnaire responses were collected and analyzed in Qualtrics.


Sixty-six percent (n = 408) of pharmacists indicated that PDAA was prevalent in their practice setting, with 55% (n = 340) of respondents encountering more than 6 patients with suspected or known PDAA a month. Thirty-five percent (n = 198) of pharmacists indicated they were moderately confident at identifying patients with potential PDAA. However, 41% (n = 235) of the pharmacists indicated that they only discuss PDAA with identified patients less than half of the time. Pharmacists lacked confidence in their ability to discuss PDAA treatment options with their patients as well as collaborate with addiction treatment facilities. Lack of training or knowledge in PDAA (48%) and uncertainty of how to initiate discussion or effectively communicate with patients about PDAA (39%) were identified as barriers that significantly or very significantly hindered respondents from managing PDAA in their practice.


Although many pharmacists are moderately confident in identifying patients with potential PDAA, several barriers hinder intervention. Providing pharmacists with additional training and resources may better equip them to manage PDAA within their practice settings. Can Pharm J (Ott) 2019;152:xx-xx.

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Conflicting Interests:The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.

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