New Educational Video for Pharmacists Addresses Prescription Drug Abuse

Topics: Diversion and Prescription drug abuse

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and Anti-Diversion Industry Working Group Educate on “Red Flags” that May Be Difficult to Detect

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) and the Anti-Diversion Industry Working Group (ADIWG), a consortium of pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors, has released an educational video for pharmacists to help them identify the warning signs of prescription drug abuse and diversion when dispensing controlled substance prescriptions. The video, entitled, “Red Flags,” was released at the NABP 110th Annual Meeting. 

Americans abuse prescription drugs more than cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogens combined, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Red Flags” encourages pharmacists to help combat this national problem by exercising their professional judgment to ensure the prescriptions they dispense were written for a legitimate medical purpose, and to act upon any unusual behavior they observe.

“Prescription drug abuse is a complex issue and, as one of the last lines of defense, pharmacists have a corresponding responsibility to recognize common red flags and establish a prescription’s validity to curb this abuse,” said NABP President Joseph L. Adams, RPh. “We appreciate the support of the ADIWG in providing pharmacists with this important informational video to help prevent the misuse and diversion of opioids and other prescription drugs.”

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and various state pharmacy boards have described red flags as circumstances surrounding the presentation of a controlled substance prescription that should raise reasonable suspicion about the validity of that prescription. The video highlights a number of these potential warning signs, some of which are not easy to spot, by weaving personal narratives with interactions between pharmacists and customers. 

“Red Flags” is sponsored by six ADIWG member companies – the group’s founder, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, along with members, Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen, Actavis and Endo-Qualitest Pharmaceuticals – as part of the group’s commitment to reduce prescription drug diversion and abuse. This is the first educational tool produced by the ADIWG as it continues its collaborative effort to help combat America’s fastest growing drug problem.

“The abuse of prescription pain medicine is a serious and complex problem that requires strong partnerships, broad collaboration, and innovative approaches to combat it, said Donald Lohman, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. “This video is exactly the kind of project we envisioned when Mallinckrodt convened the ADIWG last August. As an essential partner in tackling prescription drug abuse and addiction, pharmacists were a natural target for the ADIWG to reach with this initiative.” 

“Prescription drug abuse knows no boundaries, adversely affecting every race, gender and age group,” said Robert Giacalone, Cardinal Health, “The ADIWG is proud to collaborate with the NABP to bring attention to this growing problem and enlist the nation’s pharmacists in our determination to address this abuse.” 

The video is available in the Pharmacists section of NABP’s prescription drug safety website. 

About the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy

Founded in 1904, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) is the impartial professional organization that supports the state boards of pharmacy in creating uniform regulations to protect public health. NABP aims to ensure the public’s health and safety through its pharmacist license transfer and pharmacist competence assessment programs, as well as through its Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SitesCM (VIPPS®), Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SitesCM (Vet-VIPPS®), Verified-Accredited Wholesale Distributors® (VAWD®), and durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) accreditation programs. In addition, NABP has several programs addressing abuse and diversion including the NABP PMP InterConnect®, the .pharmacy initiative, and AWARXE®. NABP’s member boards of pharmacy are grouped into eight districts that include all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Australia, eight Canadian provinces, and New Zealand. 

About the Anti-Diversion Industry Working Group

The Anti-Diversion Industry Working Group (ADIWG) is a consortium of leading pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors of controlled substances who work collaboratively to address the complex problems of prescription drug diversion and abuse. Founded by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals in August 2013, the group’s members, which include Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen, Actavis and Qualitest Pharmaceuticals, are committed to leveraging their combined capabilities to reduce prescription drug diversion and abuse. 

Contacts for the Anti-Diversion Industry Working Group (ADIWG):

Actavis plc
David Belian 862/261-8141
Director, Global Media Relations
David.Belian@actavis.com

AmerisourceBergen
Barbara Brungess, 610/727-7199
VP, Corporate and Investor Relations
Director, Compliance

Cardinal Health
Debbie Mitchell, 614/757-6225
SVP, Corporate Communications
debbie.mitchell@cardinalhealth.com

Mallinckrodt
Lynn Phillips, 314/654-3263
Manager, Communications
lynn.phillips@mallinckrodt.com

McKesson Corporation
Kristin Hunter, 415/983-8974
Manager, Strategic Communications
kristin.hunter@mckesson.com

Qualitest
Tracey Hernandez, 256/799-7178
Director, Compliance
THernandez@QualiTestRx.com

NABP is the independent, international, and impartial Association that assists its state member boards and jurisdictions for the purpose of protecting the public health.