Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dana Quesinberry

Committee Member

Julia Costich

Committee Member

Douglas Oyler


The opioid epidemic still affects many Americans today. Despite approved medication treatments for opioid use disorder (OUD), a majority of the population with OUD have not received treatment. Since pharmacists are the most accessible health care professional and had an important role providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a push to expand pharmacists’ scope of practice. The primary purpose of this investigation was to identify the benefits and barriers to community pharmacist-led treatment of OUD. The secondary purpose was to determine whether pharmacist participation in opioid treatment programs (OTPs) or office based opioid treatment (OBOT) would be feasible to implement. This analysis found that if 0.45% to 27% additional community pharmacies in Kentucky provided methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone treatment services for OUD, then medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) treatment availability could increase by approximately 1.4% to 81.1%. Overall, increased community pharmacist-involvement in OUD treatment would potentially support pharmacy business with growth of patients and services, increase patient access to treatment, and improve patient adherence to medication therapy. On the other hand, barriers to be addressed to successfully implement such community pharmacy-led services include restrictions on prescribing authority, lack of pharmacist provider recognition that impact service reimbursement, increased workload, and stigma against MOUD among some pharmacists. After reviewing OTP requirements, community pharmacies would likely benefit from establishment of an OBOT model rather than becoming an OTP. Further research is still needed to show economic and clinical outcomes associated with pharmacist-led medication management services.

Available for download on Thursday, April 23, 2026