Governors and physicians look to stop U.S. opioid epidemic

More than 30,000 Americans die each year due to the abuse of opioid prescriptions
More than 30,000 Americans die each year due to the abuse of opioid prescriptions | shutterstock.com
Governors and physicians recently came together to call for a resolution to the United States’s opioid epidemic.

The resolution within a joint statement from the National Governors Association (NGA) Health and Human Services Committee Chair Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker; Vice Chair New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan; and American Medical Association (AMA) Chair-Elect Patrice A. Harris, MD.

The statement noted that more than 30,000 Americans die every year due to the abuse of prescription opioid-based medicines and heroin. The call to action to end this epidemic is a proposed joint collaboration between governors, physicians, state legislatures and stakeholders.

Prescription drug monitoring programs used by physicians who prescribe opioid-based medications and other substances are a viable way to identify the warning signs of potential opioid abuse if they are proper and effectively funded, maintained and placed into use in everyday practice, the statement emphasized. They are also valuable in enhancing patient care and improving prescribing practices.

The education of effective pain management is another important area when talking about opioid abuse. It is crucial for physicians who prescribe opioids and other controlled substances to have the most current training so they can properly administer the medicines with safety and effectiveness. Excessive administration of these medicines or prescribing more than is required "just in case" are unacceptable and do nothing but fuel the problem, the AMA and the governors stressed. 

Promoting overdose prevention and making education a priority could be the key to stopping this epidemic, the statement urged.
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