The following statement is attributable to:
Bobby Mukkamala, M.D.
Chair, American Medical Association Board of Trustees
Chair, AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force
“We know the overdose epidemic is ravaging this country, and the National Center for Health Statistics tally of about 107,000 deaths in the past year confirms the problem is getting worse. Behind the numbers is thousands of grieving families. We need to help patients and their families with medically proven approaches to addiction. The AMA again is asking state and federal policymakers to embrace steps that will save lives by ensuring evidence-based treatment and harm reduction to our patients.
“Among the actions we recommend: decriminalize fentanyl test strips, remove the prescription status of naloxone and make it over the counter; and hold insurers accountable for repeated, willful violations of state and federal mental health (PDF) and substance use disorder parity laws.
“At this time next year, we hope that the treatment landscape has changed, and we again will not be shaking our heads about the damage caused by this epidemic.”
Editor’s note: The AMA convened more than 25 national, state, specialty and other health care associations in 2014 to form the AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force to coordinate efforts within organized medicine to help end the nation’s opioid epidemic. Additional information on the AMA task force is available here. Real-time updates on the AMA’s work on opioids is accessible here.
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