Pain Management & Opioid Abuse

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Chronic pain represents a substantial public health issue with tremendous economic, social, and medical costs. As the percentage of the U.S. population utilizing opioid analgesics for pain control grows, so does the rate of abuse, misuse and overdose of these drugs. We recognize the seriousness of the prescription drug abuse problem in the United States. At the same time, we must address the ongoing public health requirement to provide adequate pain management.

The American Academy of Family Physicians is actively working toward a solution to America’s pain management and opioid abuse epidemics through advocacy, collaboration, and education. Read the AAFP formal position: Pain Management and Opioid Abuse: A Public Health Concern(15 page PDF).

Highlights from the AAFP Position Paper on Pain Management and Opioid Abuse

  • The AAFP recommends against mandated CME as a prerequisite to licensure for prescribing opioid analgesic drugs.
  • The goal of pain management is primarily improvement and maintenance of function.
  • The AAFP will continue to work with the FDA and others to "ensure policies are in place to allow effective and safe opioid prescribing for patients in their pain management programs by their family physicians."

Find CME Opportunities

Pain Management

Earn CME credit and get the knowledge you need to treat your patients living with chronic pain.

Read Selected Journal Articles

From American Family Physician (AFP)
Rational Use of Opioids for Management of Chronic Non-terminal Pain

Am Fam Physician. 2012 Aug 1;86(3):252-258.

Collection on Chronic Pain
Browse this AFP collection featuring content on chronic pain and related issues, including end-of-life care, NSAIDs, and opioid therapy.

From Family Practice Management (FPM)
A Proactive Approach to Controlled Substance Refills
Fam Pract Manag. 2010 Nov-Dec;17(6):22-27.

Annals of Family Medicine
Opioids for Chronic Pain: First Do No Harm( (Editorial)

Opioids for Chronic Noncancer Pain: As the Pendulum Swings, Who Should Set Prescribing Standards for Primary Care? (

Objective Evidence of Severe Disease: Opioid Use in Chronic Pain (

AAFP Policies and Clinical Recommendations

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