In the midst of the opioid crisis, Colorado-based Good Day Pharmacy continues to battle the ongoing opioid use disorder from a few different angles. The independent pharmacy chain has empowered its team with education and training on naloxone dispensing, naloxone use, and how to counsel patients and start the “opioid management discussion.”
Good Day decided in the fall of 2015 that it would begin educating patients about the life-saving drug, naloxone, which comes in the following variations: Naloxone (generic injection), Narcan® (brand name naloxone nasal spray), and Evzio® (brand name autoinjector). “It was astonishing how many of our patients didn’t know naloxone existed, and also didn’t know that being on an opioid put them at higher risk of overdose,” said Karen Price, Good Day Pharmacy Marketing Director. Patients were educated via signage and brochures in all ten Good Day Pharmacies, through the company’s patient newsletter, and via social media posts.
When Good Day Pharmacy began dispensing naloxone, the pharmacy teams quickly learned their special training on how to counsel patients had paid off. “The conversations aren’t always easy, and the training we received prepared us for the questions we would be asked, and how to empathetically reply and provide recommendations and solutions,” said Karly Bergquist, PharmD, pharmacy resident at Good Day Pharmacy.
This past summer, Good Day Pharmacy joined forces with other Naloxone Champions. Together with the Health District of Northern Larimer County, Colorado Health Network, Northern Colorado AIDS Project, and Larimer Court Support, Inc., Good Day Pharmacy assisted with planning and sponsoring the first Overdose Awareness Day in Larimer County, Colorado. The goal of the event was to increase overdose awareness and provided an array of resources and educational information to attendees. During the event, the Naloxone Champions trained over 200 people on the signs of overdose, how to administer naloxone and Narcan®, how to obtain it, and distributed 200 doses of the drug to people that underwent the training.
Good Day Pharmacy will continue efforts in 2019, hoping to make an even greater impact in the communities it serves. “In 2018, we dispensed 120 naloxone/Narcan® prescriptions to our patients, and our goal is to counsel at least 200 patients in 2019, and arm them with naloxone,” said Karen Price.
This November (2018), Good Day Pharmacy instituted a new opioid management program to help protect their patients and prevent opioid overdose. Good Day Pharmacy uses technology that helps identify patients at high risk of opioid overdose. Once patients are identified, a pharmacist trained in opioid counseling calls patients to find out how their medication therapy is working (or not working), discusses side effects/concerns/problems, establishes medication goals with the patient when appropriate, discusses whether the prescribed opioids are meeting treatment goals, and makes recommendations including naloxone training and assistance with obtaining naloxone. Recommendations may also include opioid tapering (only if appropriate) with a lower dosage, and even establishing a long-term goal of discontinuing the opioid. “When we call patients, it’s pretty common to hear that they are willing to decrease their dose or taper off their opioid medication, but they just needed the phone call, some support, and someone with clinical knowledge on how to complete the task,” said Karly Bergquist, PharmD.
In 2019, Good Day will continue its opioid management program, continue educating customers through newsletters, store signage, brochures and social media, and continue to be part of the quest that educates Colorado communities about naloxone and overdose prevention.