New roles for pharmacists in battle against addictions


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A tool for helping battle Ohio’s deadly addictions epidemic is adding new dimensions to the jobs of pharmacists.

A state computerized reporting system gives pharmacists quick access to patients’ prescribing histories as they weigh whether to fill suspicious prescriptions.

The state Board of Pharmacy says Ohio’s system helped lower by 71 percent the number of patients going from doctor to doctor in search of drugs last year.

Kroger pharmacist Sarah Burke says the system is so easy to use she runs all prescriptions for controlled substances through it.

Burke says her regular focus on customer service now includes awkward situations where she must occasionally turn demanding patients down.

The pharmacy board provides guidelines for handling such situations.