Comparing Data Submitted by Public and Private Pharmacy Schools to the Opioid-Related Activities Database

Am J Pharm Educ. 2021 Jun;85(6):8328. doi: 10.5688/ajpe8328. Epub 2020 Dec 23.


Objective. This investigation compared similarities and differences in education on opioids and opioid abuse between public and private US schools and colleges of pharmacy.Methods. The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy has created and maintains an Opioid-Related Activities database for schools and colleges of pharmacy in the United States. With data from 2019, a mixed-methods design was used to triangulate quantitative analysis with a concurrent qualitative analysis. After describing, the data were compared to national statistics of schools and colleges of pharmacy (ie, number, type of school, and program structure). Data from the database on opioid activity types (ie, education, service, practice, research, and advocacy) were compared between private and public institutions, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The quantitative analysis used odds-ratios (for effect-size) and chi-square (for statistical significance), while the qualitative analysis employed word clouds to explore opioid-related activities descriptors.Results. One-hundred-seven of 144 US schools and colleges of pharmacy (74% response rate) provided their opioid-related activities information to AACP. The institutions (55 private, 52 public) had entered 436 unique opioid-related activities in the AACP database. Results of the quantitative and qualitative analyses triangulated that private institutions focused more on education-opioid-related activities, while public institutions offered more activities that involving research. Magnified to education-type opioid-related activities, faculty from private institutions often focused narrowly on an education event alone, while faculty from institutions often focused more broadly on education and other aspects such as funding, research and published articles.Conclusion. Overall, private and public US schools and colleges of pharmacy widely engaged in combatting the US opioid epidemic by training student pharmacists in this important area.

Keywords: database; opioid education; pharmacy education; private; public.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Education, Pharmacy*
  • Faculty, Pharmacy
  • Humans
  • Pharmacy*
  • Schools, Pharmacy
  • United States


  • Analgesics, Opioid