The Pharmacy Division is responsible for establishing dispensing policies for all county health departments and overseeing implementation of these policies.
Division Services and Activities
- The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has received funding from the Center for Disease Control, "Data-Driven Prevention Initiative (DDPI) on Opioid and Heroin Abuse and Overdose," to address the opioid and heroin abuse and overdose crisis within Alabama. ADPH is leveraging existing partnerships among healthcare, public safety, education, treatment, federal, state, and local government to facilitate the development of a statewide prescription drug and heroin abuse prevention plan.
- The Pharmacy Division consults and coordinates with all public health units, including county health departments and other agencies on medication-related and pharmacy-related activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, distribution issues, clinical information, drug scheduling, purchasing, and regulatory issues. Medication reviews are also provided to state employees to enhance their knowledge about their medication. Consultation and assistance is provided in the areas of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, bioterrorism, diabetes, arthritis, and home health.
- The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) is housed in the Pharmacy Division. The primary role of PDMP is to monitor the dispensing of schedule II-V controlled substances in Alabama.
- Internships to pharmacy students are provided by the Pharmacy Division, hosting students from Auburn University and Samford University each year. Assistance is also provided in coordinating professional education satellite programs for nurses, pharmacists, and physicians.
- The Pharmacy Division participates on the department's bioterrorism task force and coordinates development of Alabama's procedures for ordering and processing the Strategic National Stockpile, a special stockpile of drugs and supplies, which would be shipped by the federal government to the state following any terrorism event.
Scheduling of Gabapentin
On May 15, 2019, the State Committee of Public Health voted to make gabapentin a scheduled V medication, effective November 18, 2019. This decision was based on its potential for abuse and the need to properly monitor how it is prescribed in Alabama.
Concomitant use of gabapentin with other drugs that depress the central nervous system can result in overdose and death. It is not uncommon to see gabapentin listed with opioids on a death certificate when a fatal overdose occurred.
Because of current Alabama law, gabapentin can be reported to the Alabama Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) only if it is a controlled substance. Having it reported to the PDMP database will allow monitoring of prescribing practices and will help identify patients receiving potentially dangerous drug combinations.
Scheduling of gabapentin is not unprecedented as it is a scheduled V medication in Kentucky and Tennessee and is a "drug of interest" in other states. It is recognized that changes will be required by prescribers and pharmacies, and patients may experience some inconvenience, but scheduling of gabapentin may reduce overdoses and save lives.
High-Dose Flu Vaccine
Alabama pharmacies, such as Krogers, Walgreens, Winn Dixie, and Borden Family Pharmacy in Cullman, Alabama, provide high dose seasonal vaccines to adults 65 years of age and older. Pharmerica provides high dose flu vaccines to nursing home residents. For information on the new Fluzone high-dose seasonal vaccine, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Questions and Answers page.
Reporting of Tuberculosis Patients by Pharmacists
Alabama law explicitly requires that pharmacists dispensing anti-tuberculosis medications report that information to the State Health Officer, the county health officer, or their designee.
Tips for Safe Medicine Use
Visit Be Med Wise for toolkits for all medicine takers and anyone striving to become more informed about their medicines and their health.
Also check out Resources for Public to learn more about prescription drug abuse.
The Strategic National Stockpile Just In Time Training
The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is the country's national repository of medicine, vaccines, antidotes, and other critical supplies that may be necessary for use in extreme public health emergencies. Each state has its own plan for receiving and dispensing SNS items. Here in Alabama, SNS supplies are distributed by properly trained Public Health employees and volunteers. For a thorough review of the SNS and how its supplies are to be distributed in Alabama if warranted, please view the POD Training video.
Drugs of Abuse
Below you will find a resource guide for controlled substances and information on newly scheduled drugs.
- Drugs of Abuse
- Tramadol Moved to Schedule IV Final Rule
- Hydrocodone Combinations Moved to Schedule II DEA Final Rule
The following links are for the latest Ebola information:
- General Information
- Ebola Virus Disease Screening for Outpatient Facility
- Pharmacist Guidelines for Ebola
Page last updated: October 17, 2019