• Blog Post

National Prevention Week: Genoa pharmacy teams put training into action to support consumers living with substance use disorder

May 14th, 2024

When she heard a woman down the street from her pharmacy became unresponsive after using opioids, Genoa Healthcare® Pharmacist Kristen Pyland leveraged her training and quick thinking to help save her life.

Pyland grabbed naloxone – a treatment that temporarily reduces the effects of opioids – and rushed to her side. When she got there, the woman didn’t have a pulse and was unresponsive to the first treatment. While they waited for the paramedics to arrive, Pyland administered a second dose and felt a flood of relief when the woman regained consciousness

“I was doing whatever I could to get her up,” Pyland said. “Everything I learned in my training, I put into action.”

Opioid overdoses are all too common in Maricopa County, Arizona, where Pyland’s pharmacy is located. Nearly 2,000 people died from an opioid overdose there in 2022, according to the City of Phoenix. Consistent with national trends, that number has steadily increased over recent years. 

May 12-18, 2024, is National Prevention Week – an annual observance held by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The week aims to increase awareness around prevention, unite individuals, communities and organizations that plan prevention initiatives and promote positive mental wellbeing. Their tagline for the week, “A Celebration of Possibility,” acknowledges the power of communities coming together to drive prevention efforts.

Like the majority of Genoa’s nearly 750 pharmacies across the U.S., Pyland serves many consumers living with substance use disorder (SUD). Genoa has partnered with community-based organizations to care for people living with behavioral health conditions and SUD for over 20 years and offers a unique, stigma-free approach to care to help consumers get and stay on their medications.

In April 2024, the organization partnered with the Arizona Pharmacist Association and Maricopa County Department of Public Health to offer consumers free over-the-counter naloxone. To date, the pharmacies have educated over 330 consumers on opioid overdose and reversal and distributed over 650 kits containing naloxone to their communities.

Genoa pharmacists like Pyland also offer personalized medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services, which pair nondrug therapies, such as counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy, with an FDA-approved medication to treat substance use disorder. Its pharmacies fill common MAT prescriptions, partner closely with providers to administer treatment and assist with prior authorizations – driving easy and timely MAT inductions.

“Overdoses like the one we responded to are happening every day,” Pyland said. “The crisis is getting worse, so to be able to provide consistent, quality care that can lead to recovery is extremely important.”

Click here to learn more about SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week, and fill out the form below to learn how Genoa’s services can support your consumers living with SUD.

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