Educational sessions at the upcoming ASHP 2018 Midyear Clinical Meeting that spotlight the opioid-abuse epidemic include: Substance Use Disorders: Federal Pharmacists’ Involvement Making a Difference; Practical Strategies for Overcoming the Hurdles of the Opioid Epidemic; Five Stages to Discontinuing Opioids: Having Conversations to De-Escalate, Discontinue, or De-Prescribe Opioids for Chronic Pain; Gabapentin: An Unnerving New Trend in Drug Abuse; Managing Opioid Use Disorder and Reducing Opioid Overprescribing; Focus on Triple Aim Objectives: A Population Health Approach to Opioid Use Improvement; Let’s Take a Ride on the Opioid StewardSHIP; and more.

In related opioid-crisis news, on November 2, 2018, in Washington, D.C., Department of Health and Human Services’ Assistant Secretary for Health, Admiral Brett P. Giroir, met with representatives of ASHP and the other 10 member groups in the National Conference of Pharmaceutical Organizations (NCPO) to strategize about how to combat the opioid crisis.

The meeting came at the request of NCPO, which in January asked the Trump administration for the opportunity to discuss specific recommendations in the report, which was prepared by the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. NCPO stated that it also wanted to discuss the federal government’s plans for implementation of those recommendations and to identify shared goals for combating the opioid crisis.

Kasey K. Thompson, ASHP chief operating officer and senior vice president, who represented ASHP at the meeting, noted, “Pharmacists are absolutely critical to solving the opioids crisis.”

“Pharmacists as clinicians, patient care providers, and members of the team can have a major influence on opioid prescribing practices and on maximizing the use of non-opioid therapies, working with patients and other members of the healthcare team on medication-assisted treatment efforts, leading opioid stewardship programs, creating and managing comprehensive pain management plans, and other means to addressing the opioid epidemic while ensuring patients get the care and pain management that they need.”

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