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J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2017 Mar - Apr;57(2S):S28-S33. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2016.12.064. Epub 2017 Jan 28.

Pharmacists' role in opioid overdose: Kentucky pharmacists' willingness to participate in naloxone dispensing.



To assess pharmacists' willingness to initiate the dispensing of naloxone. As of 2015, Kentucky law permits certified pharmacists to dispense naloxone under a physician-approved protocol.


Electronic survey (e-mail) gauging perception of pharmacists' role in opioid overdose and attitudes toward, and barriers to, naloxone dispensing.


All Kentucky pharmacists with active licenses in 2015.


Ordinal logistic regression was used to estimate the impact of pharmacist characteristics and attitudes on willingness to initiate naloxone dispensing, where the dependent variable was operationalized as a Likert-type question on a scale of 1 (not at all willing) to 6 (very willing).


Of 4699 practicing Kentucky pharmacists, 1282 responded, of which 834 were community practitioners (response rate 27.3%). Pharmacists reported varying willingness to initiate naloxone dispensing, with 37.3% very willing (score 5 or 6) and 27.9% not willing (score 1 or 2). However, a majority of pharmacists reported willingness to dispense naloxone with a valid prescription (54.0%, score 5 or 6). Women pharmacists were 1.3 times more likely than men to be willing to initiate naloxone dispensing (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0-1.6). Those who reported confidence in identifying individuals at risk for overdose were 1.2 times more likely to initiate dispensing, and those who reported confidence in ability to educate patients about overdose were 1.6 times more likely to express willingness to initiate naloxone dispensing (95% CIs, respectively, 1.0-1.3 and 1.4-1.8). Community pharmacists reported barriers to naloxone access at higher rates than pharmacists from other practice settings.


Kentucky pharmacists are divided in their willingness to initiate naloxone dispensing; however, those who are confident in their ability to identify overdose risks are more willing. Increasing pharmacist confidence through appropriately designed education programs could facilitate pharmacist participation in naloxone dispensing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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