Emphasizing the role that pharmacists and state boards of pharmacy play in protecting the public health, NABP has sent a letter to congressional leadership urging Congress to continue supporting robust investments in federal programs to combat both the ongoing opioid epidemic and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Signed by NABP Executive Director/Secretary Lemrey “Al” Carter, PharmD, MS, RPh, the letter expresses specific concern about reports that opioid overdoses and abuse may be increasing during the pandemic.
“Early data has demonstrated that the economic downturn, prolonged periods of social distancing, and overall uncertainty of COVID-19 have caused an increase in opioid-related mortality in at least 30 states,” states Carter. “Congress must continue to consider the damage caused by the opioid epidemic and proactively invest in countermeasures to ensure this crisis is not further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The letter also reviews some of the Association’s efforts to help its member boards respond to the crisis, including expanding pharmacists’ access to prescription monitoring programs (PMPs) across state lines through NABP PMP InterConnect®. NABP also asks Congress to consider NABP as a potential resource when considering legislation and other public health policies impacting the practice of pharmacy.