The College of Psychiatric & Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) and members of its Substance Use Disorders Committee are pleased to announce the release of a toolkit intended to provide quick tips and a consolidated resource on the treatment of alcohol use disorders (AUD). The Pharmacist Guide to Alcohol Use Disorder is authored by CPNP members James J. Gasper, PharmD, BCPP and Bethany A. DiPaula, PharmD, BCPP and is intended to highlight both the evidence base available as well as strategies of clinical decision making used by expert clinicians. The content reflects the views and practice of the authors as substantiated with evidence-based facts as well as opinion and experience. The toolkit provides quick tips and guideline summaries in the following areas of AUD:

  • Screening and Diagnosis
  • Alcohol Withdrawal
  • Maintenance Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder
  • Special Populations and Treatment
  • Co-occurring Disorders
  • Harm Reduction Strategies
  • Resources and References

Lead author James J. Gasper, PharmD, BCPP, noted that the Pharmacist Guide to Alcohol Use Disorder toolkit is intended to fill a gap in information available to pharmacists. “Although opioid overdose is and should be a national public health priority, 15.1 million people (5.6%) aged 12 or older in the US met the criteria for an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2016. Unfortunately, it has been estimated that about 78% of people suffering with an alcohol use disorder do not receive treatment. This toolkit should aid pharmacists in playing an important role in patient management including appropriate screening for and treatment of AUD.”

CPNP’s President Megan Ehret, PharmD, MS, BCPP, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, pointed to the role that pharmacists can and should play in screening for and treating AUD. “An estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Given their interactions with patients, pharmacists can and should play a key role in screening for and caring for patients with AUD. Recognizing the comorbid nature of alcohol use and psychiatric disorders, psychiatric pharmacists especially can make valuable contributions in treating the whole patient.”

The Pharmacist Guide to Alcohol Use Disorder toolkit will be a living document that is updated and maintained on the CPNP website as a freely available source of information.