Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies/Prescription Drug Abuse

Overview

The AAFP recognizes that the risks of opioid analgesic abuse, misuse, and overdose increase as the number of people using these drugs for pain control grows. We agree with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and other agencies that prescription drug abuse has become a serious problem in the United States.

At the same time, we also understand that chronic pain represents a substantial public health issue in its own right, one with tremendous economic, social and medical costs. Further, we believe that family physicians have an essential duty to provide patients with safe, effective, and accessible pain management.

For these reasons, the AAFP is working with a number of federal agencies to develop policies that can reduce the risk of prescription drug misuse while allowing for the appropriate, medically supervised treatment of debilitating, chronic pain. Among our recent recommendations to lawmakers:

  • All states should obtain physician input when considering pain management regulation and legislation;
  • All states should implement prescription drug monitoring programs and have the ability to share registry information, as called for the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) Act of 2005;
  • Continuing medical education (CME) should not be mandated as a prerequisite to Drug Enforcement Administration or other licensure;
  • Congress should increase funding to support research into evidence-based strategies for optimal pain management and incorporate these strategies into the Patient Centered Medical Home model;
  • All payers should recognize the increased outpatient visit requirements needed to perform the proper assessment and treatment of patients with chronic pain, and should provide the appropriate payment for those services.

The AAFP will continue to work with the Food and Drug Administration and others to minimize the risk of abuse while ensuring that policies are in place to allow and safe opioid prescribing for patients in pain management programs overseen by their family physicians.


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