Medication-Assisted Treatment

We continue to promote pharmacist-provided medication-assisted treatment for patients diagnosed with opioid use disorder (OUD) from the presidential initiative of Timothy D. Fensky, RPh, DPh, FACA. This initiative builds on the efforts of the state boards of pharmacy to combat the opioid crisis over the past decade. Furthering our existing efforts, which include PMP InterConnect, an interstate prescription monitoring data resource, and, a consumer-focused website highlighting safe medication practices, is also an important aspect of this initiative.

Fensky’s initiative focused on 3 areas: 

  1. working with other organizations and met with leaders in Congress to encourage passage of legislation, including the MAT Act, that will remove federal barriers to accessing medication for OUD and allow states to recognize pharmacists as medication treatment providers for patients with OUD;
  2. implementing recommended changes to applicable language found in The Model State Pharmacy Act and Model Rules of the National Association of Boards of pharmacy (Model Act) after it was reviewed by NABP members and;
  3. holding a task force to review strategies to drive change on this issue.

Continuing the Initiative 

We are continuing to work on this important issue. Increasing awareness and speaking out about the opioid epidemic are crucial steps to furthering the medication treatment initiative and reducing OUDs. More information about medication treatment for OUD can be found in the below resources: 

About Medication Treatment for OUD

A combination of behavioral counseling and the use of certain prescription medications, medication treatment is most commonly used for OUD. This treatment uses prescription medications both in the initial detoxification and the long-term follow-up to suppress withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. The medications are intended to help patients re-establish normal brain function and prevent relapse along with behavioral therapy. Unfortunately, not all OUD patients have access to treatment due to barriers including the social stigma, cost, and lack of education.

The federal government has prioritized expanding access to medication treatment for OUD as an important element in reducing OUDs and overdoses. Because pharmacists are considered to be among the most accessible and trusted of health care providers, they are in a unique position to allow OUD patients to have greater access to medication treatment.