How prepared are pharmacists to provide over-the-counter naloxone? The role of previous education and new training opportunities


Introduction and Aims: Opioid overdose can be reversed with timely administration of naloxone. In Australia, naloxone was rescheduled from prescription only (S4) to pharmacist only over-the-counter (OTC, S3) in February 2016, increasing access for the general public. A key barrier to naloxone supply by pharmacists is a lack of knowledge, highlighting the role of pharmacist education. Community pharmacists’ education, experience, and training preferences related to naloxone provision, overdose, and substance use disorder were examined. Methods: Online survey data from a national sample of Australian pharmacists on their educational preferences regarding naloxone and overdose prevention, and prior training on substance use disorder (n = 595) was analyzed using bivariate and multivariate regression analysis. Data from qualitative semi-structured telephone interviews with pharmacists about OTC naloxone provision (n = 21) was analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Most pharmacists (81%, n = 479) were willing to be trained in opioid overdose prevention, with greater willingness to attend training associated with younger age, being female, fewer years of practice, not having attended previous education on substance use disorder, and higher confidence in issues relating to substance use disorder. Qualitative interviews confirmed community pharmacists’ willingness to attend training but analysis revealed low awareness, knowledge, and confidence about naloxone and preventing opioid overdose. Most pharmacists preferred online training or webinars. Discussion and conclusion: Most community pharmacists in Australia are willing to attend training on providing naloxone and preventing opioid overdose. There are opportunities to develop and expand the online presence of training, guidelines, and education materials to facilitate the expanded supply of OTC naloxone.

Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Melissa Middleton
Melissa Middleton
Biostatistician | PhD Candidate