AMA addresses CDC report showing drop in opioid prescribing

The American Medical Association released the following statement on July 6 that addresses a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ‘Vital Signs: Changes in Opioid Prescribing in the United States, 2006–2015’ report that shows that opioid prescribing in the U.S. is down.  The statement is attributable to Patrice Harris, M.D., MA, the immediate past chair of AMA’s Board of Trustees and the chair of the AMA Opioid Task Force. 

The AMA is pleased that national prescribing data confirms that for the past several years physicians have made more judicious prescribing decisions, but continued progress and improvements are necessary. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s report also reinforces two critical elements that must be addressed if the nation’s opioid epidemic is to be reversed. 

First, our country must do more to provide evidence-based, comprehensive treatment for pain and for substance use disorders. This can be accomplished, in part, by implementing the National Pain Strategy and reducing barriers to all modalities for treating pain, as well as by narrowing the treatment gap for addiction so that all patients who need it can access medication-assisted treatment. 

Second, physicians must continue to lead efforts to reverse the epidemic by using prescription drug monitoring programs, eliminating stigma, prescribing the overdose reversal drug naloxone, and enhancing their education about safe opioid prescribing and effective pain management. These are among the recommendations of the AMA Opioid Task Force and they are necessary to improve care and end the nation’s opioid epidemic. 

Click for AMA’s ‘End the (opioid abuse) Epidemic’ web page