Routine Opioid Outcome Monitoring in Community Pharmacy

image - Colourful Pills 280
Expected Date of Completion:
Project Supporters:

National Health and Medical Research Council Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP) Fellowship.
UNSW Medicine Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addictions Theme and SPHERE Mindgardens CAG Collaborative Research Seed Funding

Drug Type:
Project Members: 
image - Headshot Nielsen 2017 1cropped 0
Senior Research Fellow
Ph 02 8936 1017
Dr Raimondo Bruno
Conjoint Associate Professor
image - 1313976712 Alison Ritter 005
Director, Drug Policy Modelling Program
Ph 02 9385 0236
image - Michala Kowalski
Research Assistant
Project Main Description: 

This project aims to embed screening for key pain-related outcomes and emerging problems with pharmaceutical opioids into community pharmacy practice. This will assist pharmacists to identify where poor outcomes or problems are emerging, and support patient education and prescriber review.

Using an implementation science framework, the aim of this study is to test whether embedding a electronic (tablet completed) screening tool into routine pharmacy practice can facilitate:

  1. the identification of opioid-related problems
  2. effective referral to the patients’ opioid prescriber
  3. provision of patient education

The earlier identification of patients with opioid-related risk including unmanaged pain has the potential to reduce opioid-related harm and improve outcomes with chronic pain.

Project Collaborators: External: 

Ms Chris Keyes
Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Networks

A/Professor Apo Demirkol
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District

Ms Pene Wood
Latrobe University


Dramatic increases in opioid use have been observed in Australia, and many parts of the North America and Europe. This increase has been associated with growing evidence of harms including mortality and dependence. Much work has focus on the role of GPs. Community pharmacists represent an understudied and highly skilled group of health professionals that have an important role to play in addressing pharmaceutical opioid related problems.

Effective treatments are available for pharmaceutical opioid dependence, though the people that need them are rarely identified to receive them. Mortality from pharmaceutical opioids exceeds that from heroin by two-fold. Those with chronic pain are prevalent in mortality data, yet little focus has been placed on changing policy and practice to respond to their treatment needs. This project aims to address this gap.


This project aims to test a pilot a model of care which will include the development of unique pharmacy software that will enable tablet (iPad) based screening and referral.

Design and Method: 

Translational research study.


Recruitment to commence in 2018

Project Research Area: 
Drug Type: 
Project Status: