• Presentation

Building the bridge: Pharmacists as critical harm reduction partners


Lutnick, A. (2012, November). Building the bridge: Pharmacists as critical harm reduction partners. Presented at 9th National Harm Reduction Conference, Portland, OR, November 15-18, .


In this presentation we will describe perspectives of pharmacists and IDUs in San Francisco, California about offering various potential HIV, HCV, and overdose prevention services for IDUs in pharmacy settings. We conducted qualitative interviews with 11 IDUs and 23 pharmacists, and quantitative interviews with 200 IDUs and 78 pharmacists. The majority (>75%) of IDUs were in favor of all the proposed interventions, though they identified pharmacists’ and pharmacy staff’s attitudes as a major barrier to their comfort with accessing services. Among the pharmacists interviewed, the majority (>70%) were in favor of all the proposed interventions. However, certainty about the ability to implement the services was inconsistent and dependent upon perceptions about the ease of implementation, and legal or financial barriers. Challenges to implementing pharmacy-based preventive interventions include: time, space, staffing, training, legal considerations, pharmacists’ attitudes toward IDUs, financial concerns, and IDUs’ perceptions about pharmacists. This presentation will provide concrete examples of the types of preventive services that pharmacists and IDUs enthusiastically support, and that pharmacists consider feasible. Because pharmacists welcome the opportunity to expand their role as harm reduction partners, we need to strategize on how best to utilize their support to improve the lived conditions of IDUs.