Exploration of pharmacist comfort with harm reduction behaviors: Cross-sectional latent class analysis

Jon Agley, Beth E. Meyerson, Lori A. Eldridge, Rick A. Crosby, Keith G. Bentele, Mikyoung Jun, Nina Vadiei, Amy Kennedy, Kirsten Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Pharmacists are positioned to play important roles in implementing evidence-based prevention and harm reduction approaches for opioid misuse and related health care outcomes such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C. More research is needed to understand how best to facilitate harm reduction practices among pharmacists. Objectives: This hypothesis-generating study investigated (1) whether subgroups (latent classes) were observable among pharmacists based on self-reported comfort with specific harm reduction behaviors, (2) whether having reported expertise in key content areas was associated with any latent classes that might be identified, and (3) whether comfort and training were associated with actually having dispensed syringes for likely nonprescription drug use. Methods: This was a statewide census of community managing pharmacists in Arizona conducted from December 2018 to May 2019. Participants reported their degree of comfort with 10 harm reduction behaviors, their expertise (e.g., recent continuing pharmacy education or specialization) in selected content areas, and their syringe dispensing behavior. Additional sociodemographic information was also collected. Subgroups related to harm reduction were computed using latent class analysis, and associations between study variables were assessed using the Fisher's exact tests. Results: Data suggested the existence of 4 latent, comfort-based harm reduction classes: high comfort, moderate comfort, and clinical comfort, and opioid prevention only. Reported expertise in pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV was likely associated with harm reduction class. However, class membership was not associated with reporting having dispensed nonprescription syringes, although the single comfort item for syringe dispensing, by itself, was associated therewith. Conclusion: Comfort with harm reduction likely clusters, so pharmacists may be broadly comfortable with topics or methods of harm reduction; however, comfort with a specific harm reduction pharmacy practice may be a better predictor of engaging in that behavior than harm reduction comfort class. In contrast, strategies to improve comfort, such as intervention development, might successfully be informed by pharmacists’ latent class.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-440
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (nursing)
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology

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