Surgeon General Calls on Physicians to End Opioid Abuse Epidemic

Last month, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD, emailed a letter to 2.3 million health professionals asking them to lead a national movement to turn the tide on the nation's prescription opioid epidemic. 

The letter stresses the need for education to treat pain safely and effectively and references the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. The surgeon general calls on physicians to screen patients for opioid use disorder and connect them with evidence-based treatments. He encourages his colleagues to talk about and treat opioid addiction as a chronic illness, "not a moral failing."

Visit Turn the Tide Rx to join with clinicians and public health advocates from across the country in an effort to end this epidemic.

Texas has taken action to reduce deaths from opioid overdoses. The Texas Pharmacy Association (TPA) implemented an expansive physician-authorized standing order regarding the dispensing of naloxone/narcan, a fast-acting antidote that can be administered to someone who is overdosing on opioids. Effective Aug. 1, the standing order allows qualified Texas pharmacists to dispense naloxone to patients and/or family members or friends of patients who have a medical need. 

Pharmacists can act under the standing order only after they have completed a one-hour course accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education and in coordination with TPA. Naloxone can be supplied as an intramuscular injection, intramuscular auto-injector, or intranasal spray. The intranasal formulation is considered off label and is delivered through an atomizer. 

For more information, read "Standing Against Addiction" in this month's issue of Texas Medicine

At the national level, the American Medical Association Task Force to Reduce Prescription Opioid Abuse is focused on reducing the inappropriate prescribing of opioids and the growing crisis of heroin overdose and death. The task force includes physician leaders and staff from across the nation. For more information, AMA members can log in and download the Task Force Overview document.

Action, Sept. 15, 2016

Last Updated On

October 11, 2016

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