Qualitative assessment of patients’ perspectives and needs from community pharmacists in substance use disorder management

Sarah Fatani, Daniel Bakke, Marcel D’Eon, Anas El-Aneed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Non-medical use of psychoactive substances is a common harmful behavior that leads to the development of Substance Use Disorders (SUDs). SUD is a significant health concern that causes adverse health consequences and elevates the economic burden on the health care system. SUD treatment plans that utilize a patient-centered approach have demonstrated improved treatment outcomes. It is essential for health care providers, including community pharmacists, to understand patients’ needs and prioritize them. Therefore, this study was conducted to explore the perspective of patients living with SUDs or who used substances non-medically regarding community pharmacist services and the delivery of services in a community pharmacy setting. The study took place in Saskatoon, a small urban center of Saskatchewan, Canada. Methods: Qualitative methodology was used for this research inquiry. Four focus groups were conducted, with a total of 20 individuals who had experienced substance use and accessed community pharmacy services. The discussion of the four focus groups was transcribed verbatim and analyzed independently by two researchers. Agreement on the emergent themes was reached through discussion between the two researchers. Results: Data analysis resulted in four themes that described participants’ perspectives about community pharmacists. The four emergent themes are: 1) conflicted experiences with community pharmacists, 2) lack of knowledge concerning community pharmacists’ extended services, 3) negative experiences in Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT) program, and 4) needs from community pharmacists. Conclusion: There is significant potential for the patient-pharmacist relationship to address the varying needs of patients who use substances and improve their overall health care experience. Patients who use substances are receptive to pharmacists’ services beyond dispensary; however, respectful communication, provision of drug-related information, and counseling are among the primary demands. Future research should focus on studying the impact of meeting the needs of patients on their treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number38
JournalSubstance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Community pharmacists
  • Methadone
  • Qualitative study
  • Substance use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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