Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Drug abuse

FIP sets out how pharmacists can help cut harm from drugs of abuse

A report by the federation recommends that community pharmacies should offer a comprehensive service to help fight drug abuse, in particular providing harm reduction services.

pharmacy supplying naloxone for harm reduction


International Pharmaceutical Federation says community pharmacies could run syringe and needle exchange programmes; provide opioid substitution therapy and supply naloxone for inadvertent overdose as part of harm-reduction services

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has called for pharmacy organisations to engage with policymakers and health authorities to ensure more pharmacist involvement in drug harm reduction services.

The FIP report also recommends that careful consideration be given to the possible role of pharmacists working in the community and hospitals in the supply of marijuana or marijuana-containing products for medicinal use.

‘Reducing harm associated with drugs of abuse — the role of pharmacists’, written by the FIP’s working group on pharmacists’ role in harm reduction, aims to influence future FIP policy on the role of pharmacists in discouraging the use of potentially harmful substances for recreational purposes, and in fighting substance abuse and addiction.

FIP’s recommendations

The report says that a comprehensive service should be provided by community pharmacies that could include syringe and needle exchange programmes; opioid substitution therapy; the supply of naloxone as a means to manage inadvertent overdose; and the provision of health promotion services such as testing for sexually transmitted infections.

It describes and compares harm reduction services such as needle exchange and opioid substitution in different regions and countries, including Europe, the USA, Canada, central Asia and the Middle East.

According to the report, the provision of syringe and needle exchange programmes is well developed in high-income countries, but the situation in low- and middle-income countries is very different and drug services for vulnerable populations are rare.

“Of 158 countries that reported people who inject drugs, only 90 implement needle exchange programmes,” said working group chair Andy Gray.

“Yet the benefits of harm reduction are many — both to individuals and society — including prevention of infection by HIV and hepatitis C, fewer overdoses and less drug-related criminal activity,” he added.

The FIP report is the outcome of a literature search conducted by the FIP working group, and insights gained from the direct involvement of some working group members in the provision of harm reduction services and development of national policies in this area.

It is anticipated that the report will lead to a new statement of FIP policy in this area.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20204035

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • pharmacy supplying naloxone for harm reduction

Jobs you might like

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.