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BACtrack launches ‘police-grade’ breathalyzers into retail

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — BACtrack on Thursday announced multiple partnerships with retailers — including Best Buy, Costco, Urban Outfitters and Walgreens — to begin selling "police-grade" breathalyzers.

“We’ve built a strong online presence through BACtrack.com, Breathalyzer.net and Breathalyzer.com and have forged partnerships with Amazon as well as respected multichannel retailers like Best Buy,” stated Keith Nothacker, CEO BACtrack. “But many consumers still prefer and need the immediate convenience of the in-store experience. Through agreements with Walgreens, Best Buy and Costco … we’re working to put BACtrack on every street corner in America.”

Reflecting the need for publicly available tools to gauge intoxication, a July 2013 consumer survey organized by BACtrack showed 7-out-of-10 adult American drinkers think owning a breathalyzer would allow them to estimate when they’ve had enough to drink. Two-thirds of adult drinkers also believe owning a breathalyzer would lower their risk of getting a DUI.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently proposed that American states reduce the legal blood alcohol content drinking limit from the current .08% BAC to .05% BAC. If states adopt this recommendation, drinkers will be responsible for complying with the new law and will need tools to stay safe and legal, the company noted. 


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Addressing prescription drug abuse and access issues — every day

BY Steve Anderson

Two recent developments demonstrate the complexity of the prescription drug abuse issue. Perhaps ironically, August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, while the month of September is National Pain Awareness Month.

Timed with the recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy announced the release of an Opioid Overdose Toolkit. This resource is designed to help raise awareness of overdose prevention, treatment and recovery for first responders, prescribers and patients.

Meanwhile, as part of National Pain Awareness Month, organizations like the U.S. Pain Foundation are raising awareness of the challenges faced by millions of Americans each day, including their need for medications to help them confront severe pain and illness. The Foundation created a special “30-Day Challenge” to help redefine perceptions surrounding pain issues.

These issues deserve the focus that they receive during this commemorative day and month, and every day. And it also makes sense to think about these issues from a more unified perspective. In fact, NACDS has made it a priority to simultaneously address prescription drug abuse and legitimate prescription drug access. As we say, there needs to be a 100-percent commitment to patient care and a zero tolerance for drug abuse and diversion.

Opinion research conducted for NACDS this past August found that nearly eight-out-of-ten respondents agreed with NACDS’ positioning on this issue, as reflected in this statement: “Pharmacies have a dual role when it comes to battling prescription drug abuse. They have to be part of the solution by working with law enforcement officials to stop prescription drug abuse, but they also have to maintain their responsibilities to patients by making sure they receive the medications they legitimately need.”

The necessity of this dual focus also is reflected in legislation backed by NACDS that would create a commission of federal and state governmental agencies, law enforcement and healthcare professionals to collaborate on solutions for drug abuse and drug access alike. As NACDS noted in an op-ed column in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, the “Combating Prescription Drug Abuse Act” (S. 1277) by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) deserves support and action.

The existence of a special day to raise awareness of overdoses and the existence of a special month to raise awareness of chronic pain demonstrates the complexity of these issues. Hopefully, this dialogue also will demonstrate the need to address drug abuse and legitimate medication access in a coordinated fashion that benefits all Americans.


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NACDS names director of federal public policy

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — Building on its government affairs and public policy department, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores has hired Christopher Smith, formerly with the National Community Pharmacists Association, as director of federal public policy. 

Smith will report to Kevin Nicholson, VP public policy and regulatory affairs. Smith started his new role with NACDS on Aug. 27.

The new director-level position will further enhance the scope of policy expertise within NACDS’ government affairs and public policy department, the Association stated.

In his role, Smith will provide policy guidance on pharmacy issues primarily at the federal level in the area of patient care, including Medicaid, medical homes, health exchanges and accountable care organizations.  He will analyze and interpret policies and regulations that impact pharmacy patient care, prepare and deliver official testimony and comments, and serve as an authoritative resource on these issues for NACDS members.

“We are pleased to welcome Chris to the NACDS staff team,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson.  “His association and legislative experience, as well as his health policy law expertise will help further advance NACDS’ pro-patient, pro-pharmacy policy activities.”

Smith previously served as director of policy and regulatory affairs for NCPA, providing expertise on Medicare, Tricare and healthcare waste, fraud and abuse issues. In addition, he was a visiting assistant professor of law at Widener University School of Law’s Health Law Institute. Smith also conducted a fellowship with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs.


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