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How Adding a Clinical Pharmacist Improves Access to Addiction Care

Presenter(s): Ben Miskle, PharmD and Alison Lynch, MD, MS

There is a shortage of psychiatrists to meet the mental health needs of patients in the United States and this shortage was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The incidence of substance use disorders (SUD) increased significantly during the pandemic and there is an insufficient number of physicians trained to meet patient needs. This gap creates problems across the health care system for providers, patients, and caregivers. One solution to this problem is integrating other members of the health care team to expand access to mental health and substance use treatments. Clinical pharmacists have extensive knowledge on pharmacologic treatment of SUD and are often underutilized resources. This presentation will highlight a successful model of how health care professionals can work together to coordinate and optimize care of patients living with SUD. The role of the psychiatric pharmacist as a partner in SUD care in different treatment settings will be explored and discussed.