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Helping Physicians With Opioid Management

Your Society will create specialized programs

It’s No secret that opioid abuse is on the rise. According to a 2015 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014.

As a result, many local, state and federal agencies have begun to demand more education for physicians on dispensing opioid prescriptions as well as recognizing and preventing addiction in their patients. The American Medical Association now has a task force to reduce opioid addiction abuse, which includes members of 25 state, specialty and other health care associations. The task force encourages physicians across the nation to educate themselves on managing their patients’ pain and promoting safe, responsible opioid prescribing.

Similarly, the Chicago Medical Society is concerned about the rise in prescription opioid abuse. As a result, CMS approved a resolution aimed at helping member physicians more safely manage pain and opioid prescribing.

The measure was adopted by the Governing Council in February 2016. Basically, it calls for CMS to develop continuing medical education courses on pain management and opioid prescribing for member physicians. It also specifies the type of education the CME courses should contain.

According to the resolution, CMS-developed content should educate member physicians on how to address proper drug disposal with their patients. It should also address the role of physicians in increasing access for their patients to substance abuse treatment. And finally, the content should educate physicians on how to incorporate risk management strategies into their practices in order to reduce the number of opioids prescribed and related opioid abuse, addiction and deaths. All are excellent and necessary goals.

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