The new Idaho law, signed by Gov. Brad Little in February, addresses the opioid epidemic head on by expanding to pharmacy technicians this unique prescribing authority, which pharmacists, physicians, and nurse practitioners currently have. Idaho is the first state in the country to grant this ability to pharmacy technicians.
In addition to the new law, Little issued an executive order earlier this month to create an Idaho advisory group to guide health care decisions and strategies relating to opioid misuse.
“Idaho is leading other states in the steps we are taking to expand access to this critical medication and in our efforts to address the opioid crisis,” Little said. “Training pharmacy technicians and all health professionals to prescribe naloxone further reaches our underserved and rural communities. Albertsons Cos. has been a key partner in increasing the scope of practice for both pharmacists and technicians to continue improving access to beneficial and lifesaving medications.”
To date, Albertsons has specially trained eight pharmacy technicians in the Boise metropolitan area and plans to train additional technicians across the state over the coming months.
The naloxone dispensing procedures are specifically designed to not only help save lives in the event of an overdose, but to aid in the patient’s recovery so he or she can then seek medical treatment or drug counseling. This service also includes a private consultation with the pharmacist or pharmacy technician to determine the patient’s eligibility, training on naloxone administration and expectations, and when appropriate, notification to the patient’s primary care provider.
“Our pharmacy teams are on the frontlines of fighting opioid misuse, so we welcome the opportunity to expand our efforts in outreach, education, and naloxone dispensing. With a 163% increase in deaths from opioid overdoses in Idaho over the last decade, adding these newly trained caring professionals to our current efforts couldn’t come soon enough. It directly supports our promise to serve and improve the health and wellness of our customers and patients,” said Mark Panzer, Albertsons Cos. senior vice president of pharmacy health and wellness.