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focuses on Partnership combating abuse of prescription meds


rescription medication abuse is a persistent problem in Wisconsin, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. It’s an issue that looms large not just for the abusers, but also for pharmaceutical professionals. A partnership between UWM’s Center for Addiction and Behavioral Health Research (CABHR) and the Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW) School of Pharmacy is tapping into a potential intervention point: the moment when prescriptions are filled. “We know that many pharmacists establish relationships with their clients and have an understanding of how their clients are using medications,” says Michael Fendrich, director of CABHR and a professor of social work in UWM’s Helen Bader School of Social Welfare. “So they may be in a position to detect possible abuse and advise patients and doctors when problems are suspected.”

Together, CUW and UWM are dramatically increasing the training of new doctors of pharmacy in the epidemiology, health consequences and economic impact of addiction and substance abuse in Wisconsin. This spring, Fendrich and graduate student Jennifer Hernandez Meier teach “Social and Behavioral Pharmacy” at CUW. The course is designed to give pharmacy Ph.D. students a better understanding of how social, psychological and sociocultural factors explain and relate to disease processes, the patient-pharmacist relationship and how each experiences the broader health care system. Topics include the relationship between the mind and the body, chronic illness, mental illness, substance use, patient counseling and communication, pharmacist-physician interaction, medication adherence and medication errors. Fendrich is teaching as a UW System Wisconsin Distinguished Professor, funded by CUW—a key aspect of the partnership.

“These two universities represent how a public and a private institution can develop research, generate new grant funding and create innovative training strategies,” Fendrich says.


“CABHR and its team of UWM scientists are engaging a new cadre of people that will be serving our community in a critically important way.”

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Concordia University Wisconsin pharmacy students Sarah Hoerner and Sirr Grice (from left) with Dean and Associate Professor of Pharmacy Dean L. Arneson and UWM’s Michael Fendrich

UWM Research Report 2012