American Society of Anesthesiologists - White House Announces Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week

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White House Announces Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week

President Obama proclaimed September 18-24, 2016, as Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week. 

This announcement follows a series of Administration actions to address the opioid epidemic, including a White House public-private sector partnership to address the prescription drug abuse epidemic, which ASA joined. As part of this partnership, the White House announced the Fraternal Order of Police would distribute to its 330,000 members ASA’s Opioid Overdose Resuscitation card, which identifies the signs and symptoms of an overdose and how to respond.

As federal agencies are using all available tools to combat this epidemic, ASA is working closely with key stakeholders to reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. Other recent efforts include:

•             Creating an ASA Ad Hoc Committee on Prescription Opioid Abuse, which focuses on identifying common-sense ways to reduce prescription opioid abuse and promote safe and effective treatments for patients with chronic pain.

•             Supporting key-provisions in legislation to address the prescription opioid abuse epidemic, which were signed into law by President Obama. The legislation includes ASA-supported provisions that will expand access to naloxone; allow patients to partially fill prescriptions for controlled substances; reauthorize NASPER, a public health grant program for prescription drug monitoring programs that has been long-supported by ASA; and enable NIH to intensify pain research.

•             Collaborating with the CDC on the Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, which provides recommendations for primary care providers on: 1) when to initiate or continue opioids for chronic pain; 2) opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation; and 3) assessing risk and addressing harms of opioid use.  As a result of ASA’s advocacy, the CDC clarified that the final Guideline does not apply to opioid treatment for post-surgical pain.

•             Partnering with the American Medical Association on the Task Force to Reduce Prescription Opioid Abuse, which aims to increase physicians’ registration and use of effective prescription drug monitoring programs; enhance physicians’ education on effective, evidence-based prescribing; reduce the stigma of pain and promote comprehensive assessment and treatment; reduce the stigma of substance use disorder and enhance access to treatment; and expand access to naloxone in the community and through co-prescribing.

•             Formally recommended to HHS that they revise the questions assessing patient satisfaction with pain management in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey (HCAHPS) given widespread concern that the questions impact opioid prescribing practices.

Learn more about ASA’s work to reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs here

Find out more about Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week activities

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