Pharmacists' training, perceived roles, and actions associated with dispensing controlled substance prescriptions

Marc L. Fleming, Jamie C. Barner, Carolyn M. Brown, Marv D. Shepherd, Scott A. Strassels, Suzanne Novak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine situations that prompt pharmacists to access a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) database and management of opioid abuse/addiction; assess pharmacists' actions when abuse is suspected; and describe pharmacists' tasks when dispensing controlled substance prescriptions (CSPs) and their related continuing pharmacy education (CPE). Design: Cross-sectional mail survey of 1,000 randomly selected pharmacists. Setting: Texas from February 2012 to April 2012. Participants: 1,000 Texas community pharmacists. Intervention: Mail survey instrument. Main outcome measures: Prompts to use a PDMP and pharmacists' views, actions, and related CPE programs Results: The usable response rate was 26.2%. Pharmacists were more supportive of mandated PDMP use by physicians than by pharmacists (mean ± SD 4.1 ± 1.2 versus 3.2 ± 1.5; P <0.001), based on a 5-point Likert scale (1, strongly disagree, to 5, strongly agree). Most pharmacists would be prompted to use a PDMP if the prescription contains mistakes (68.1%) or the patient requests an early refill (66.3%). Bivariate statistics showed that men pharmacists, those with BSPharm degrees, and pharmacists ≥50 years of age reported a greater number of CPE hours related to prescription opioid abuse and pain management. An analysis of variance showed that pharmacy owners reported significantly more (P <0.05) CPE compared with manager and staff pharmacists. Conclusion: Older pharmacists with a BSPharm degree may be more willing to provide counseling to patients with opioid addiction based on their work experience and additional CPE related to controlled substances. As PDMP use becomes more prevalent, pharmacists should be prepared to interact and counsel patients identified with aberrant controlled prescription drug use and properly deliver pain management care. Additionally, schools of pharmacy curricula must prepare new pharmacists to prevent abuse and diversion, as well as intervene when aberrant use is identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-250
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • Diversion
  • Opioid addiction
  • Pharmacists
  • Prescription drug abuse
  • Prescription drug monitoring


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