Passage of CARA Bolsters Efforts to End Prescription Opioid Drug Abuse, Heroin Use

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Statement attributable to:
Wanda Filer, MD, MBA
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act will expand much-needed access to care for Americans struggling with substance abuse disorders – a policy long-supported by the American Academy of Family Physicians and our members.

“Opioid abuse and addiction have taken a devastating toll on Americans, their families, and public health and safety. We welcome legislation that improves family physicians’ ability to identify patients struggling with substance abuse and ensures treatment that is both safe and accessible.

“We’re pleased that CARA reauthorized the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act and we urge Congress to appropriate funds that will support states’ robust and timely prescription drug monitoring programs.

“Family physicians understand that there are patients with inappropriate drug-seeking behavior. However, it can be difficult to quickly identify these individuals without a database containing this information. Family physicians in states with prescription drug monitoring programs find such databases useful tools in treating patients and in preventing diversion. The AAFP believes increased funding for NASPER would help stem the growing problem of interstate diversion and misuse of narcotics by allowing family physicians to determine whether a patient has received prescriptions in other states and locations.

“However, these prescription drug monitoring programs must be seamless and interoperable across state lines. They must provide real-time information and they must minimize time taken away from patient care by fitting into physicians’ workflow patterns.

“CARA permits nurse practitioners and physician assistants to administer buprenorphine under the supervision of a physician who has authority to provide medication assisted treatment. In doing so, this legislation supports team-based care that improves patient safety while ensuring patients get the treatment they need.

“Together, these provisions will move our national effort to end prescription drug abuse and the ruinous impact it has on individual lives, on families and on our communities.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Filer, contact Leslie Champlin,
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224, or

Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

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