Translating research into practice fellowships will focus on schools prevention and the tole of community pharmacists in treatment pharmaceutical opioid dependence

March 2017

Dr Stapinski’s fellowship will further her work developing and implementing evidence based drug and alcohol prevention strategies and resources for young people. The research will addresses a known gap in the implementation of evidence-based drug prevention in Australian schools and responds to a recent call from school leaders for additional support in building capacity to respond to drug and alcohol issues. Parents, teachers and school counsellors are the primary sources of contact for young people seeking advice or help for drug use issues, thus it is important they are equipped with accurate information and evidence-based response strategies. The body of work will target three key areas in which there is an evidence-practice gap and potential to significantly improve outcomes for young people. Specific objectives are to:

  • increase implementation of evidence-based drug prevention strategies within schools;
  • provide up-to-date, accurate drug and alcohol information to teachers, parents and students;
  •  build capacity for early intervention among school counsellors. Widespread implementation of evidence-based practice will be facilitated through the Positive Choices national drug prevention portal.

Dr Nielsen’s research  will embed screening, brief intervention and referral into community pharmacy practice, to address the treatment needs of clients dependent on prescribed and over-the-counter opioids .

Mortality from pharmaceutical opioids exceeds that from heroin by two-fold. While much work has focused on the role of GPs, pharmacists represent an understudied yet highly skilled group of health professionals that have an important role to play in addressing pharmaceutical opioid dependence.

Those with chronic pain are prevalent in mortality data, yet little focus has been placed on changing policy and practice to respond to their treatment needs. This project aims to address this gap. The project will test a pilot model of care which will include screening, referral and treatment.