New NIH grant to fund Cochran's 2-year project with community pharmacies

School of Social Work researcher working with pharmacists to curb opioid misuse

New NIH grant to fund 2-year project with community pharmacies

University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work Assistant Professor Gerald Cochran received a $426,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to deploy opioid misuse and overdose prevention interventions within community pharmacy settings.

Opioid medication misuse and overdose have reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., costing an estimated $56 billion annually. Although public officials have increased programs in recent years, one greatly underutilized resource for intervention is the community pharmacy.

Most patients fill their opioid prescriptions at a neighborhood pharmacy, and those opioid medications can often be diverted and misused. Pharmacists are ranked among the most trusted healthcare professionals in the nation and have expressed great interest in helping patients who misuse opioid medications; however, these professionals also report a lack of training and resources necessary to effectively do so.

The Prescription opioid misuse: Pharmacist-delivered intervention at point of service research project will work with the Falk Pharmacy of UPMC to train personnel in the Brief Intervention Medication Therapy Management (BI-MTM). The BI-MTM is designed to help patients adhere to their medication regimen, help them self-manage their care, and to reduce opioid medication misuse.

“This grant represents an important interdisciplinary effort between social work, pharmacy, psychiatry, and psychology to address the opioid epidemic in Western PA,” said Cochran.” Together—we are establishing necessary evidence to protect health and save lives.”

Co-investigators include Ralph Tarter, PhD and Amy Seybert, PharmD from the Pitt School of Pharmacy, Jordan Karp, MD from the Pitt Department of Psychiatry, and Craig Field, PhD from the University of Texas at El Paso Department of Psychology.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R21DA043735. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health