Health experts commit to ending U.S. opioid addiction epidemic
Steven Stack, president of the American Medical Association (AMA), recently published a letter called “Confronting a Crisis: An Open Letter to America’s Physicians on the Opioid Epidemic.” Together, the AAFP, AMA and similar doctor organizations have joined the AMA Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse.
Family physicians in particular see an up-close view of how opioid abuse affects patients, families and communities in the U.S. To stop the epidemic, doctors need to create better pain management approaches for patients. Doctors also need to raise awareness among the general public that opioid addiction truly is a health crisis throughout the entire country.
The latest studies from the AAFP suggest that opioids should not be the leading prescription choice for patients who have chronic pain. Four alternative treatment methods exist to help manage pain, including oral non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical and occupational therapy, antidepressants and acetaminophen.
To reduce opioid addiction, it is important for physicians to make use of these alternative methods for pain management. For patients who have non-malignant chronic pain, these options are the best.