The American Medical Association Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse recently announced the first of several recommendations to address the growing opioid epidemic: prescription drug monitoring programs.
The task force comprises of 27 physician organizations, including the American Medical Association (AMA), American Osteopathic Association, American Dental Association, and 17 specialty and seven state medical societies.
“We have joined together as part of this special task force because we collectively believe that it is our responsibility to work together to provide a clear road map that will help bring an end to this public health epidemic,” Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, Board Chair-Elect of the AMA, said in a press release. “We are committed to working long-term on a multipronged, comprehensive public health approach to end opioid abuse in America.”
The task force will first focus on urging physician registration and use of state-based prescription drug monitoring programs when considering treatment options.
Evidence has shown that fully-funded, available prescription drug monitoring programs containing relevant clinical information effectively identify patients who misuse opioids and enable physicians to use treatment strategies, including referral, for patients in need of further care.
“[Prescription drug monitoring programs] vary greatly in efficacy and functionality from state to state,” Harris said in the release. “Alone, they will not end this crisis, but they can provide helpful clinical information, and because they are available in nearly every state, [prescription drug monitoring programs] can be effective in turning the tide to end opioid abuse in the right direction.”
This first initiative includes implementation of a new resource website that will house information on prescription drug monitoring programs, in hopes of increasing physician knowledge of and education on safe, effective and evidence-based prescribing. The AMA Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse will launch a national marketing, social and communications campaign to raise awareness on how physicians can combat the epidemic and options available to them for appropriate prescribing.