Physicians key to cutting stigma of opioid addiction

Patients who struggle with a substance use disorder deserve stigma-free access to care similar to that available for other patients with chronic disease. This was the message conveyed by Patrice A. Harris, MD, chair of the AMA Board of Trustees, last week at an interdisciplinary symposium on opioids at Northwestern University ’s Pritzker School of Law. Though physician efforts have begun to change the landscape of the opioid epidemic, vigilance is still required to ensure patients with chronic pain maintain access to treatment they need. Between 2013 and 2015, the number of  prescriptions dispensed nationwide for opioid medications fell by over 20 million, Dr. Harris said. In Illinois, prescriptions dropped 10 percent over the same time period—and this occurred without a legislative or regulatory mandate. Dr. Harris, who also chairs the AMATask Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse, said the pattern, in part, likely reflects a more careful review of prescribing practices by physicians who recognize the potential for opioid-related harm and are doing what they can to ensure their patients ’ safety. But physicians also need to make sure patients with chronic pain are receiving the care that addresses their specific needs, she added. The drop in opioid prescribing  has helped reduce the supply of prescription opioids  available for diversion. However, Dr. Harris said, it is important “that we continue to support comprehensive pain care and that we don’t increase the stigm...
Source: AMA Wire - Category: Journals (General) Authors: Source Type: news
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