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ASHP Policy Position 2035

Role of the Pharmacy Workforce in Violence Prevention

Status: Current

To recognize that violence in the U.S. is a public health crisis; further,

To affirm that the pharmacy workforce has important roles in a comprehensive public health and medical approach to violence prevention, including leadership roles in their communities and workplaces; further,

To encourage members of the pharmacy workforce to seek out opportunities to engage in violence prevention efforts in their communities and workplaces; further,

To promote collaboration between the pharmacy workforce and community and healthcare organizations in violence prevention efforts; further,

To foster education, training, and the development of resources to prepare the pharmacy workforce for their roles in violence prevention; further,

To support research and dissemination of information on the effectiveness of pharmacy-focused violence-prevention strategies.


The World Health Organization defines violence as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in the U.S. 7 people die a violent death each hour -- 47,000 from suicide and 19,500 from homicide annually -- and a 2015 report found more than 2.5 million violence-related injuries annually. The CDC estimates that violence costs the U.S. $9 billion annually in medical costs and lost work, and a separate estimate places the cost of violence as a whole to U.S. hospitals and health systems at $2.7 billion dollars in 2016. The staggering human loss and soaring costs have led numerous organizations of healthcare and public health professionals to label violence a public health crisis and take action to address violence as a public health problem. One prominent example is the American Hospital Association Hospitals Against Violence Initiative, which provides examples and best practices to address its three central topics: workforce and workplace violence, combating human trafficking, and preventing youth violence.

ASHP believes that members of the pharmacy workforce have “a responsibility to participate in global, national, state, regional, and institutional efforts to promote public health” and that the pharmacy workforce has important roles in primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions to prevent violence. The CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention states that the different forms of violence they identify—child abuse and neglect, youth violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, elder abuse, and suicidal behavior—are strongly connected and share common risk and protective factors. Interventions the pharmacy workforce could be involved in include but are not limited to

  • improving access to mental health services, including treatment for substance use disorder; 
  • screening to identify victims of or individuals at risk of violence;
  • providing trauma informed care;
  • providing lethal means counseling;
  • supporting hotlines and community support systems for people in crisis;
  • providing or promoting Stop-the-Bleed bystander training; and
  • participating in or promoting community- or hospital-based violence prevention organizations.

To fill these important roles, members of the pharmacy workforce will need appropriate education, training, and resources. Although some education, training, and resources are appropriate for different healthcare providers, ASHP is committed to the development of resources to prepare the pharmacy workforce for pharmacy-specific roles in violence prevention and to supporting research and dissemination of information on the effectiveness pharmacy-focused violence-prevention strategies. In addition, institutional and community leaders need to be aware of the pharmacy workforce’s commitment to preventing violence. ASHP is committed to raising awareness with other stakeholders of the profession’s commitment to collaborate to end the cycle of violence in their institutions and communities.