These best practices for dispensing controlled substances outside of active cancer, palliative and end-of-life care are based on recommendations from the CDC and other regulatory agencies:
Check K-TRACS for multiple prescribers, inconsistent or early refills, and the patient's methods of payment. Use these findings to assist with clinical decision-making.
Avoid jargon when speaking with patients and provide written materials that they can reference later. View our provider toolkit for suggested materials.
Evaluate risk factors of addiction and overdose to promote patient safety.
Consider controlled substance agreements with patients.
Ask the patient to repeat or teach back the information you provided to verify they have a clear understanding.
Explain to patients how to safely store and dispose of unused medications to prevent diversion or misuse and refer them to the nearest medication disposal sites. If your pharmacy is not registered as a drop off site, contact the DEA to register and inquire about purchasing a drug drop box to collect prescription medications for disposal.
Assess prescriptions thoroughly for “red flags” that can indicate patients may be struggling with substance use disorders or diverting medications.
Locate substance use disorder treatment referral options near you with the SAMHSA locator tool.
Sources: Kansas Board of Healing Arts, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control, Rhode Island Department of Health, Wisconsin Department of Health, SAMHSA, Kansas Board of Pharmacy, National Institute of Health, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.