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AMA president calls on all physicians to help reverse opioid epidemic

In an open letter to U.S. physicians published last week, AMA President Steven Stack, MD, called on all physicians to take steps to reverse the nation’s opioid overdose and death epidemic.

“The medical profession must play a lead role in reversing the opioid epidemic that, far too often, has started from a prescription pad,” he wrote. “For the past 20 years, public policies—well-intended, but now known to be flawed—compelled doctors to treat pain more aggressively for the comfort of our patients. But today’s crisis plainly tells us we must be much more cautious with how we prescribe opioids.”

Doctor Stack urged physicians to:

  • Avoid prescribing opioid treatments for patients with chronic noncancer pain.
  • Limit the amount of opioids prescribed for acute injuries and postoperative care.
  • Use the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
  • Reduce stigma to provide better care.
  • When risks exceed benefits, work to compassionately reduce opioid exposure in patients already on chronic opioid therapy.
  • Help connect patients with opioid use disorder to evidence-based treatment.
  • Co-prescribe naxolone to patients at risk for overdose.

Click here to read the letter in its entirety.

The Wisconsin Medical Society is continuing its commitment to address this issue. In addition to working with State Rep. John Nygren, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and other key stakeholders to advance legislation and increase public awareness, the Society’s Opioid Task Force is developing physician education, including a new webinar series aimed at improving opioid prescribing.

Approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, the webinars are available on demand. Click here for more information. To read more about the task force’s work, click here.

Back to May 19, 2016 Medigram