A multi-site qualitative study examining pharmacy student perspectives on the opioid crisis

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American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education


Objective. To determine pharmacy students’ perspectives regarding opioid use, the opioid crisis, and pharmacy education related to both topics. Methods. Students from each professional year at eight participating schools and colleges of pharmacy were invited to participate in focus groups and answer questions about their experiences with the opioid crisis. Faculty and/or staff moderated the focus groups and audio-recorded responses. Recordings were deidentified, transcribed, and analyzed. Results. One hundred fifty students participated in one of 29 focus groups conducted. Responses were cate-gorized according to themes using consensual qualitative research (CQR) methodology. Sources impacting student views on the crisis included school, personal and work experience, and media. Perspective changes since starting school included increased knowledge and awareness and decreased bias/stigma. Conclusion. Conducting focus groups on the opioid crisis provided pharmacy schools with information on what student pharmacists are learning about the crisis, practices they see, and their recommendations to address the crisis. Pharmacy schools can better prepare students to combat the opioid crisis by providing them with training in opioid counseling, use of naloxone, and how to have difficult conversations with patients.

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