Family Physicians Continue to Combat Opioid Crisis

A key mission of the AAFP is to protect the health of the public, and family physicians are deeply aware of the critical and devastating problem of prescription drug misuse and the resulting deaths. At the same time, family physicians must address the ongoing public health requirement to provide adequate pain management to the patients who need it most.

Family physicians follow all aspects of the recommended prescribing guidelines and follow evidence-based best practices to create individualized treatment plans for pain management patients in a medical home setting. 

Through advocacy, collaboration and education, the AAFP continues to actively work to combat America’s pain management and opioid misuse problems.

AAFP resources include:
AAFP Pain Management and Opioid Abuse
Chronic pain management is a public health concern with significant increases in the use of opioids for pain relief. There is a corresponding growth in the number of opioids prescribed in the United States and the overdose from those drugs.Family physicians and other primary care providers play a vital role in balancing patients’ pain management needs with the risk of drug misuse and abuse.

AAFP Policy: Substance Abuse and Addiction
Substance abuse and addiction are complex health and societal problems. Substance abuse is the inappropriate and harmful use of any substance, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, supplements and alcohol. Addiction to substances includes the element of loss of control and is recognized as a chronic relapsing disease.

The AAFP promotes a society which is free of alcohol, drug and substance abuse. The AAFP strongly urges its members to be involved in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of substance abuse and addictive disorders as well as the secondary diseases related to their use. Education in the treatment of all aspects of these complex disorders, including knowledge and usage of evidence-based strategies, should be a defined part of medical school and family medicine residency curricula.  

AAFP Position Paper: Chronic Pain Management and Opioid Misuse: A Public Health Concern
The intertwined public health issues of chronic pain management and the risks of opioid use and misuse continue to receive national attention. Family physicians find themselves at the crux of the issue, balancing care of people who have chronic pain with the challenges of managing opioid misuse and abuse. 

AAFP Chronic Pain Management Toolkit
Chronic pain is common in the United States, with approximately 11 percent of the population reporting daily pain. The use of pain medications has increased dramatically, with the sales of prescription opioids quadrupling from 1999 to 2014. Opioid misuse and abuse rates have also increased, leading to a rise in both opioid overdoses—at least half of which are attributed to prescription medications—and morbidity and mortality. This resource helps family physicians identify gaps in practice flow, standardize evaluation and treatment of chronic pain patients, and facilitate the necessary conversations surrounding pain, treatment goals, and risk identification and mitigation.

AAFP Pain Management and Opioid Abuse Resources
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 do the rates of misuse, abuse and overdose of these drugs. The American Academy of Family Physicians provides resources such as office-based tools, community engagement, advocacy action, and science and education.

The AAFP currently partners with the Providers Clinical Support System to offer free MAT waiver training(urldefense.proofpoint.com).

In conjunction with the AMA Opioid Task Force To Reduce Opioid Abuse, the AAFP also supports expanded access to naloxone and appropriate Good Samaritan protections for the prescribers and lay rescuers who deploy this life-saving drug.

AAFP Pain Management and Opioid Misuse Advocacy Resources:
AAFP Letter to White House ONDCP and Opioids Commission - October 19, 2017
AAFP Letter Concerning Mississippi Opioid Prescribing Rules - October 11, 2017

AAFP Letter  to FDA on Child-resistant Packaging - October 2, 2017

AAFP Letter to CMS Regarding the 2018 Proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule - August 30, 2017
AAFP Testimony to Senate Appropriations Committee on FY 2018 Priorities - May 31, 2017
AAFP Testimony to House Appropriations on FY 2018 Priorities - March 8, 2017
AAFP Letter to the VA on PDMPs - May 5, 2016