A survey of Alberta pharmacists’ attitudes, comfort and perceived barriers to a community-based naloxone program

Sarah Emily Nowlan, Neil J. MacKinnon, Ana Hincapie, Matt Tachuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Community pharmacists play an important role in the wellness of patients, families and friends affected by prescription and illicit opioid drugs. They are key partners of the Community Based Naloxone (CBN) Program in Alberta and similar programs across other Canadian jurisdictions. This publicly funded program is an evidence-based response to the opioid overdose crisis, facilitating access to and distribution of naloxone kits through pharmacies. The study aimed to describe Alberta community pharmacists’ practices, training, comfort levels and views in dispensing naloxone kits through the CBN program and detail potential perceived barriers to program participation. Methods: The study was conducted as a cross-sectional online survey of Alberta pharmacists. Data collected from the survey were descriptive and evaluated using Microsoft Excel. Fisher exact tests were used to study the associations in responses among several demographic characteristics and related to dispensing practices, pharmacists’ beliefs and perceived barriers. Results: A total of 255 responses were included in the final analysis, with 89.8% of pharmacists replying “yes” to CBN program participation. Pharmacists on average were “comfortable” dispensing naloxone to patients for varying indications, with 85% reporting always providing education when dispensing naloxone to an individual for the first time. About 41% of pharmacists reported no barriers to the program, with the most common perceived barriers being lack of time (29%), demand (20%) and funding (19%). Conclusion: Most community pharmacists who responded to the survey participate in the CBN program in Alberta. They held positive beliefs about their role in screening patients for the risk of opioid overdose and are confident in their abilities to recommend and educate on naloxone kits. Proactive screening appeared lower, however, and dispensing kits were potentially variable. Addressing factors such as time, funding for services and demand may help further pharmacist uptake and success of the program. Can Pharm J (Ott) 2021;154:xx-xx.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-270
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Pharmacists Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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