This project aims to ascertain the attitudes of pharmacists to cannabis and its use; their potential role in health promotion and provision of brief, opportunistic interventions (ie information provision – health promotion, clinical advice and referral); their willingness to do so; any barriers to such provision; and resources that could assist. The project builds on a successful NCPIC with General Practitioners, and aims to expand the potential for the dissemination of cannabis prevention information, and the provision of opportunistic brief interventions to address potential cannabis use-related harms in pharmacy settings.
Pharmacists represent a unique position in health care, and are relied on to provide health care, especially in rural areas where a medical practitioner may only be available on a sessional basis. In order to engage with pharmacists and equip them to provide appropriate assistance, a better understanding of their views on and attitudes towards cannabis and people who use cannabis is warranted, as is their perceptions of any barriers in providing the interventions being developed. In addition, their view on useful resources to assist them and their clients is essential for resource development.
The project is a non-funded collaboration between NCPIC, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia – NSW Branch, Associate Professor Timothy Chen, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney, Associate Professor Janie Sheridan, Research Director and Deputy Head of School, School of Pharmacy, University of Auckland, and Jennie Houseman, Consultant Pharmacist, Community GP & Pharmacy Liaison, Northern Sydney Area Drug and Alcohol Services, NSW Health. It is led by Dr John Howard.
Denis Leahy, Pharmacy Guild of Australia – NSW Branch
Carlene Smith, Pharmacy Guild of Australia – NSW Branch
Associate Professor Timothy Chen, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney
Associate Professor Janie Sheridan, Research Director and Deputy Head of School, School of Pharmacy, University of Auckland
Jennie Houseman, Consultant Pharmacist, Community GP & Pharmacy Liaison, Northern Sydney Area Drug and Alcohol Services, NSW Health
This project aims to ascertain the attitudes of pharmacists to cannabis and its use; their potential role in health promotion and provision of brief, opportunistic interventions; their willingness to do so; any barriers to such provision; and resources that could assist.
- Selected NCPIC Factsheets have been adapted for use by pharmacists and their customers. These together with the Severity of Dependence Scale and various NCPIC resources will form a pack for use by pharmacists in community setting.
- An information session was provided to 35 pharmacists from the Hunter/New England area at the School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy at the University of Newcastle on 31 October 2012 by Dr John Howard and Dr Adrian Dunlop, Director of Drug and Alcohol Services, Hunter and New England Health Service, and Pharmacy Guild personnel.
- A proposal is being developed for funding by the Pharmacy Guild for a pilot in a health area of brief opportunistic interventions
The research component has two parts – (i) qualitative and (ii) quantitative.
- A qualitative study with 11 pharmacists has been completed. This arm of the research explored the areas in the aims outlined above, and the results were used to develop the quantitative instrument and the process for recruiting pharmacists and pharmacy staff to complete the survey.
- For the quantitative arm, the survey instrument has been finalised and ethics submitted. The instrument is modelled on the NCPIC survey of general practitioners in relation to provision of interventions of cannabis use-related difficulties of patients presenting in a GP setting, and is consistent to that used by Sheridan (2008) in New Zealand where she explored NZ pharmacists’ view of providing expanded services related to alcohol use-related difficulties. The invitation to complete the survey will be circulated via email to Pharmacy Guild members, and be anonymous. It should take about 10 minutes maximum, and be available on-line or in paper or email form. Participants will be invited to indicate willingness to complete the survey again 12 months later.
The survey is now complete and the results were presented at an APSAD meeting in November 2013. Ongoing capacity building to deliver interventions by pharmacists continues.
Howard, J., Copeland, J, & Leahy, D. (2013). Pharmacy-based interventions for cannabis use-related difficulties. Retail Pharmacy June 2013, 20.
NCPIC Bulletin prepared. It will be published at https://ncpic.org.au/ncpic/publications/bulletins/