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The opioid epidemic continues to have a significant negative impact on public health in the United States. Community pharmacies represent an important care setting in confronting the opioid epidemic. However, they continue to be an underutilized care access point. Pharmacy technicians are often the first and most frequent pharmacy personnel to interact with people receiving a prescription for opioid medications. There is a paucity of studies conducted with pharmacy technicians as it pertains to interactions with these patients. To explore community pharmacy technicians' roles and their personal experiences when interacting with patients who are receiving a prescription for opioid medications. A qualitative design was employed in use of focus groups (FGs) conducted virtually across several regions of the United States. Audio recordings of U.S. FGs were transcribed verbatim and imported via Dedoose (v2.0, Dedoose, Manhattan Beach, CA,) for further data assessment using thematic analysis. The researchers used the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research. In total, 46 pharmacy technicians participated in 8 FGs. The average length of time for FG was 56 minutes. The mean for the work experience was 7 years, with a range of 1 to 44. Of 46 subjects, 34 were working in a community setting, and the rest were in a hospital setting. Most of the subjects practiced in Tennessee and California at the time of the study. Two themes emerged from the data: "Interactions between pharmacy technicians and patients who are using opioid prescriptions," and "Interactions between pharmacy technicians and the pharmacy team while dispensing opioid prescriptions." Pharmacy technicians serve as a key health care system touchpoint in the community pharmacy. Although pharmacy technicians are exposed to people receiving a prescription for opioid medications, they feel under-resourced and ill-quipped to adequately serve this patient population. Copyright Ā© 2022 American Pharmacists AssociationĀ®. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Citation

Kenneth C Hohmeier, Alina Cernasev, Shane Desselle, Joanne Canedo, Steven Stewart, James Wheeler. Exploring the frontline experiences of pharmacy technicians during the opioid epidemic in community pharmacies. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association : JAPhA. 2022 Jul-Aug;62(4):1338-1343

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PMID: 35365406

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