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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Medical Task Force to Combat Prescription Opioid Epidemic

The fight against prescription drug abuse in America continues, and the frontline is in the doctor's office. 27 major medical organizations, led by the American Medical Association (AMA), have created a task force and launched a new website with the hope of reducing prescription opioid abuse, HealthDay reports. The task force aims to “improve doctors' education on safe, effective and evidence-based prescribing.”

"We have joined together as part of this special Task Force because we collectively believe that it is our responsibility to work together to provide a clear road map that will help bring an end to this public health epidemic," AMA Board Chair-Elect Dr. Patrice Harris said in an AMA news release

The task force would like doctors to register for and use prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), which are available in 49 states, according to the article. PDMPs can help physicians determine if a patient is seeing multiple doctors for prescription opioids. The AMA points out that 44 people lose their lives every day to prescription opioid overdoses.

The AMA led task force is calling for a national campaign to educate doctors about how they can help address the national prescription opioid crisis. The task force will not disrupt the care that people who are suffering from chronic pain deserve, the initiative’s focus is abuse, the article reports.

“America’s patients who live with acute and chronic pain deserve compassionate, high-quality and personalized care, and we will do everything we can to create a health care response that ensures they live longer, fuller and productive lives,” said Harris. 

Some of the other medical organizations joining the fight include the:
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Academy of Neurology, the American Academy of Pain Medicine
  • American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Dental Association

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