The growing opioid epidemic must be tackled on all sides by physicians, pharmacists, data analysts and policy makers so everyone knows what is going on with the epidemic, the chair of the American Medical Association (AMA) recently told team members during a conference in Amelia, Florida.
“Physicians must play a key role all along the continuum, from prevention to intervention and referral to treatment,” Dr. Patrice Harris said at the 2017 AMA State Legislative Strategy Conference. “And, above all, we must address substance-use disorders as brain disorders, as true medical diseases and not a social and moral failing.”
Harris is a psychiatrist and chair on the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees. She believes it is crucial for physicians to talk with their patients on the risks of opioids as well as storage and disposal of the prescribed opioid.
“We are encouraging physicians to avoid prescribing opioids to new patients with chronic, non-cancer pain,” Harris said. “Unless the benefits are expected to outweigh the risks and opioids are clinically indicated, we recommend following the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines of start low, go slow.”
The Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse from the AMA constantly tries to educate people on opioid misuse and improve access to naloxone, which can immediately treat an overdose. The task force is also trying to reduce substance use disorder stigma and encourage use of state prescription drug monitoring programs.
AMA chair says states must address opioid epidemic
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