TORONTO, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - The Ontario Pharmacists' Association (OPA) supports the Ontario government's Narcotics Strategy, announced today, intended to ensure prescription narcotics are prescribed and used appropriately.

"Prescription narcotic diversion and abuse is a serious safety issue for all of us - from the pharmacists and other healthcare professionals who are trying to ensure patients have access to the medicines they need, to the communities that are harmed by diversion and abuse," says Dennis Darby, chief executive officer of the Ontario Pharmacists' Association. "We support the Ontario government in launching this important initiative, and will continue to play a key role in educating pharmacists and the public to ensure we're doing our part."

As the professional association representing Ontario's 12,000 pharmacists, who are on the front lines of patient care, the OPA is acutely aware of the risks and issues associated with prescription narcotic diversion and abuse. The association is developing a strategy to help address this issue, in a comprehensive and methodical manner. This strategy complements those of provincial and federal governments, and of other health care provider groups. The association supports:

      -  Patient, consumer and healthcare provider education on diversion,
         abuse, and prevention of abuse, to increase awareness and
         understanding of addiction as a public health issue and to assist
         those dealing with addiction.

      -  Legislation that balances the need for access to medications for
         legitimate medical purposes with the need to prevent diversion and

      -  Public and private initiatives that provide funding to prevent
         diversion and address the need for drug abuse treatment and

As part of its strategy, the Ontario Pharmacists' Association is participating in a multi-stakeholder approach to assist pharmacists and physicians in the implementation of the new clinical practice guidelines for prescribing opioids for non-chronic cancer pain.

About the Ontario Pharmacists' Association

The Ontario Pharmacists' Association is the professional association that represents the views and interests of more than 12,000 pharmacists and pharmacists-in-training across the province. The Association works to inspire excellence in the profession and practice of pharmacy, and to promote wellness for patients.

SOURCE Ontario Pharmacists' Association

For further information: For further information: Contact information: Julie Holroyde, Hill & Knowlton, 416-413-4625, Julie.holroyde@hillandknowlton.ca; Lindsay George, Ontario Pharmacists' Association, Tel: 416.441.0788 ext. 4236, lgeorge@opatoday.com

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Ontario Pharmacists' Association

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