Nichols Thesis 7.29.22.pdf

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Creating a Shared Opioid Use Disorder Curriculum to Enhance Pharmacist Interventions: Phase I

posted on 02.08.2022, 18:00 authored by Molly Annabelle NicholsMolly Annabelle Nichols

The opioid epidemic is an ongoing public health crisis in the United States (US). Although many treatment options exist for opioid use disorder (OUD), including evidence-based counseling, medications, rehabilitation programs, and support groups, access to care is a significant barrier. Pharmacists can play an important role in increasing patient access to OUD care; however, insufficient training is a well-documented barrier. Integrating comprehensive training into Doctor of Pharmacy coursework is a practical approach to preparing pharmacists to provide appropriate OUD care in a variety of practice settings. A shared OUD curriculum is one strategy to facilitate the integration of comprehensive training into Doctor of Pharmacy coursework.

My current research aimed to collect data from four key stakeholder groups – Doctor of Pharmacy program faculty, community pharmacists, multidisciplinary professionals, and patients experiencing OUD – to inform a shared OUD curriculum through a convergent, parallel, mixed methods study design. Specifically comprising this thesis are the quantitative findings from telephone surveys with Doctor of Pharmacy program faculty (“Study One”) and community pharmacists (“Study Two”); qualitative findings from multidisciplinary professional focus groups and patient interviews, as well as synthesized findings across quantitative and qualitative data sources, will be reported in future publications. Collectively, the results presented in this thesis provide a “snapshot” of the current pharmacy landscape with respect to the OUD education delivered to student pharmacists and opioid-related practices in community pharmacies.

The findings from Study One and Study Two indicate that OUD education in Doctor of Pharmacy programs and pharmacist-provided opioid interventions are inconsistent at best. The three main areas identified as needing future emphasis were: (1) the disease model of addiction and accompanying stigma of OUD; (2) harm reduction-, prescription-, screening-, and resource referral-related opioid interventions; and (3) skills-based, experiential education (vs. didactic education) for opioid intervention delivery and communication techniques. A shared OUD curriculum was of interest to faculty and is a viable solution to addressing OUD education gaps in Doctor of Pharmacy programs. Once qualitative data analyses are completed and findings from all four stakeholder groups are synthesized, development of the proposed shared OUD curriculum will commence.


1 F32HS028749-01


Degree Type

Master of Science


Pharmacy Practice

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Margie Snyder

Additional Committee Member 2

Karen Hudmon

Additional Committee Member 3

Monica Miller

Additional Committee Member 4

Carol Ott

Additional Committee Member 5

Geoffrey Curran

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