CHICAGO—Opioid abuse and addiction is a serious public health problem that has reached crisis levels across the United States, with 44 people dying each day from overdose of opioids
. Recognizing the urgency and serious impact of this growing issue on the health of patients across the country, today as part of the American Medical Association (AMA) Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse, ASA joins the AMA in announcing the first of several national recommendations to address this growing epidemic.
The AMA Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse
is comprised of 27 physician organizations, 17 specialty and seven state medical societies
as well as the American Dental Association that are committed to identifying ways to combat this public health crisis and move swiftly to implement those practices across the country.
“We are pleased to join the AMA in this timely and important task force to help combat opioid abuse,” said J.P. Abenstein, M.S.E.E., M.D. “Physician anesthesiologists have extensive training in pain medicine and know how harmful these powerful drugs can be when misused. With nearly 7,000 people a day being treated in emergency rooms for opioid abuse, the time is now for the medical community to unite and find solutions to this growing epidemic.”
The task force’s initial focus will be on efforts that urge physicians to register for and use state-based prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) as part of the decision-making process when considering treatment options. When PDMPs are fully-funded, contain relevant clinical information and are available at the point of care, they have been shown to be an effective tool to help physicians identify patients who may be misusing opioids, and to implement treatment strategies including referrals for those in need of further care.
The AMA has long advocated in support of important initiatives aimed at addressing prescription drug abuse and diversion. This includes continued work with the administration and Congress toward developing balanced approaches to end prescription opioid misuse, as well as supporting congressional and state efforts to modernize and fully fund PDMPs.
The new initiative will seek to significantly enhance physicians’ education on safe, effective and evidence-based prescribing. This includes a new resource web page
that houses vital information on PDMPs and their effectiveness for physician practices, as well as, a robust national marketing, social and communications campaign to significantly raise awareness of the steps that physicians can take to combat this epidemic and ensure they are aware of all options available to them for appropriate prescribing.
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring that physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during, and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care that every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org
. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount