Using qualitative, community-based input to steer post–coronavirus disease 2019 pharmacy practice in substance use

Lucas Kosobuski, Andrew Hawn, Katelyn France, Nathaniel Chen, Cierra LaPlante, Laura Palombi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a disproportionately negative impact on individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD). A rapidly changing public health and treatment environment has resulted in increased needs for pharmacist engagement in SUD-focused patient care. Objectives: This study used semistructured interviews of SUD professionals to evaluate where they believe pharmacy practice could better support people at risk of or having SUD in light of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Professionals dedicated to the care of individuals with SUD were recruited from a large community substance use coalition to participate in a qualitative study examining how pharmacists could take a more active role in SUD prevention, intervention, recovery, and harm reduction (HR). A consensual qualitative research approach was used in data analysis. Results: Domains identified in analysis included pharmacists as educators of patients and communities, pharmacists as educators of health care providers, pharmacists as advocates for individuals with SUD, the need for increased pharmacist engagement owing to COVID-19 challenges for individuals with SUD, the need for expanded pharmacy practice interventions, and the need for pharmacist self-development. Conclusion: Increased medication counseling, HR practices, addressing stigma, and community-level education focused on SUD were among the most commonly reported areas for pharmacy practice development. In addition, the urgent need to adjust pharmacy practice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was also identified by interviewees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the contributions of student pharmacists Reid Larson and Sarah Christiansen and AmeriCorps VISTA Anna Van Deelen for their work in conducting interviews and Kaitlyn Erola for her work in transcribing interviews and data analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Pharmacists Association®


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