The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids(www.drugfree.org) recently announced the national launch of its Search and Rescue(www.searchandrescueusa.org) campaign, which is intended to educate prescribers of opioid medications on how to prevent misuse and abuse of these drugs in their offices and to provide them with resources on responsible prescribing practices. Developed with the support of the FDA, the campaign aims to help physicians proactively identify and help patients who are at risk for opioid abuse.
"Educating the health care community on appropriate prescribing of prescription opioid medications is a cornerstone of the FDA's Opioid Action Plan(www.fda.gov) and continues to be a top priority for the agency, as well as for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and across the federal government," said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a news release about the launch.
"The Search and Rescue campaign connects prescribers to training, information and resources that can help, and we encourage them to share this educational content with their peers as we all continue to work to change the culture of inappropriate opioid prescribing in this country," she added.
To reach as many U.S. prescribers as possible, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids appealed to national health organizations such as the AAFP, AMA, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Dental Association to inform their members about these resources.
On the Search and Rescue site's opioid abuse resources page(www.searchandrescueusa.org), family physicians can view brief educational videos and connect with a range of tools and resources, including
- a fact sheet for prescribers,(www.searchandrescueusa.org)
- an opioid risk tool,(www.drugabuse.gov)
- an FDA database of approved risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS)(www.accessdata.fda.gov) for opioid medications and other drugs,
- a database of REMS-compliant, accredited CME(www.er-la-opioidrems.com) on prescribing extended-release/long-acting opioid analgesics.
Videos(www.searchandrescueusa.org) featured on the website address topics such as identifying prescription drug abuse and improving patient care and using a state's PDMP. The site also offers video case studies on how to deal with both established and new patients who are suspected of misusing opioid prescriptions.
In addition, the site allows prescribers to access their state's prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP).(www.searchandrescueusa.org)
Since 2012, the FDA has provided grant funding and other support to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to support the creation and maintenance of the Search and Rescue prescriber education campaign.
After a year of formative research, the campaign's resources were tested in Maryland and Rhode Island in 2014, expanded to six states in 2015 and now are available to the entire country.
"Today's opioid epidemic has reached alarming and tragic proportions, with 78 opioid overdose deaths occurring daily in the United States," said Partnership for Drug-Free Kids President and CEO Marcia Lee Taylor in the release. "Addressing this dire national problem requires a multipronged approach involving parents, educators, community leaders, treatment professionals and health care providers. The partnership is proud to apply its communications expertise to the challenge of reaching and helping educate prescribers, who can and must be a huge part of the solution."
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