America's Physicians at Forefront of Efforts to Reverse Opioid Misuse
CHICAGO - The American Medical Association (AMA) expressed support today for congressional passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).
"The AMA supports efforts to confront the opioid and prescription drug epidemic through meaningful legislation so physicians who are on the front line have the ability to best meet patient needs," said Dr. Patrice Harris, chair of the AMA Board of Trustees and chair of the AMA Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse. "This legislation represents an important step in addressing the public health epidemic of opioid misuse, but it will not be fully realized without new resources to support these programs and policies. We look forward to continuing to work with policymakers, advocates, physicians and other health care professionals on efforts to prevent addiction and provide treatment for those suffering from substance use disorders."
The AMA has been at the forefront of efforts reverse this national epidemic, calling on physicians, insurers and lawmaker to take substantive, practical steps. Among actions the AMA has taken:
- Creating the AMA Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse comprised of 27 physician organizations including the AMA, American Osteopathic Association, 17 specialty and seven state medical societies as well as the American Dental Association that are committed to identifying the best practices to combat this public health crisis and move swiftly to implement those practices across the country.
- Publishing an open letter from then-AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D., to physicians on the responsibilities and roles they must play to reduce the opioid epidemic and to make sure physicians are trained in safe prescribing practices.
- Urging physicians to register for and use prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), while calling for increased access to naloxone to reduce deaths from overdose along with strong Good Samaritan protections.
- Working to reduce the stigma of substance use disorders and promoting access to comprehensive pain care, including alternative forms of treatment. The Obama Administration recently agreed to increase the number of patients that a doctor can treat with buprenorphine.
- Launching a physician-focused communications campaign to highlight resources, information and steps physicians can take to address opioid misuse and alleviate stigma through #/AMA Wire, email communications and social media.
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