Pharmacy leaders' beliefs about how pharmacies can support a sustainable approach to providing naloxone to the community

Res Social Adm Pharm. 2020 Oct;16(10):1493-1497. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2020.01.006. Epub 2020 Jan 18.


Background: Naloxone is an antidote to opioid overdose, and community pharmacies nationwide now provide broad access to this medication.

Objective: The aim of this qualitative study was to understand how leaders in pharmacy organizations perceive pharmacies and pharmacy staff can optimize dispensing of naloxone.

Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 pharmacy leaders in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Participants were recruited from three types of community pharmacies: (1) chain; (2) independent; and (3) hospital outpatient. Theory-driven immersion crystallization, using Brownlee et al.'s model of healthcare quality improvement, was used to inform coding of the interview data, with predetermined categories of staff; organization; and process.

Results: Five main themes were identified: (1) Importance of staff training to increase comfort; (2) Strength through coordination of efforts; (3) Pharmacy as a community leader in the opioid crisis; (4) Persisting stigma; and (5) Ongoing workflow challenges.

Conclusions: The results uniquely reflect the experiences and insights of pharmacy leaders implementing public health initiatives during the opioid crisis and can be used for gaining insight into how pharmacists can efficiently provide naloxone to their communities.

Keywords: Naloxone; Opioid; Overdose; Pharmacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Community Pharmacy Services*
  • Drug Overdose* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Massachusetts
  • Naloxone / therapeutic use
  • Narcotic Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Pharmacies*
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy*
  • Rhode Island


  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Naloxone