AMWA Report from the White House Opioid Working Group
Since 1999 the number of US overdose deaths from prescription opioids has quadrupled and now exceeds deaths from motor vehicle accidents. While men experience greater mortality than women, that gap is now closing and nearly 1 in 3 women of reproductive age are prescribed opioids.
In 2015, in response to a White House request, AMWA joined with other provider groups and pledged to combat this epidemic. On September 22, 2016 the White House Opioid Working Group brought together White House staff; CDC, HHS, and DEA leadership and representatives of provider groups to share updates, identify issues and plan future work. Diane Helentjaris, MD, MPH, past AMWA President participated on AMWA’s behalf. Over the past year, the multi-prong effort has born fruit. Tools and education for providers, increased funding for distance learning, enhanced surveillance of illicit opioid use, and better data capture such as through more accurate death certificate are just some of the outcomes. Future plans include the promotion of e-prescribing, development of a national pain strategy, creation of an 8 to 10 hour curriculum for medical schools and a literature review of non-pharmacological management of pain. The most recent CDC guideline resources for providers can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prescribing/resources.html. Several specialty organizations, such as the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society of Addiction Medicine have posted resources on their websites. AMWA, in addition to promoting the Surgeon General’s Turn the Tide Campaign http://www.turnthetiderx.org, will be exhibiting safe opioid usage material created by AMWA members at the upcoming American Association of Pediatrics national meeting.