American Medical Association Implements New Policies to Combat Opioid Abuse

The American Medical Association (AMA) was started in 1847 to standardize medical practices, training, and codes and has since been largest organization of physicians in the United States. Additionally, the AMA is a powerful and well funded political lobbying associations that has supported changes in a variety of laws affecting public health and doctors. Over recent years, its membership has been declining, however it saw a recent 3.2% uptick in 2012 registration to reach 224,503 members.

Recently, the AMA made the decision to implement new policies in an attempt to combat the country’s opioid abuse and addiction epidemic. These new policies are focused on providing more access to naloxone, a drug that helps block the effects of opioids and is used to counteract the effects of an overdose. Other policy changes discussed during its yearly meeting included providing timely and adequate access to non-prescription and non-opioid treatments for pain reduction, creating a program that would offer the drug at a lower price, and legal reforms that would allow police to carry and administer the drug when someone has overdosed.

These new policies are aimed at improving naxolone access to family and friends of those patients who are at risk of overdosing. All of these changes were presented by Dr. Patrice A. Harris, in charge of leading a panel discussion on opioid abuse. Dr. Harris is the chair-elect of the association, as well as chair of the AMA Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse. The discussion was titled: “With 78 opioid-related deaths a day, what can one physician do?”

The Opioid Epidemic

For years, teenagers and adults alike have been abusing prescription medications, but now more than ever, the Unites States is facing an opioid epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more people died in 2014 from a drug overdose than ever recorded, and six out of ten deaths involved opioids. It also reported that deaths attributed to prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999.

With providers prescribing almost a quarter of a billion opioid pills in 2013, and adults sharing these drugs or failing to properly dispose of them, the issue has become highly critical. According to research, some risk factors that may make people susceptible to prescription opioid abuse or overdose include:

  • Receiving multiple prescriptions from different healthcare providers and/or pharmacies
  • Taking large doses of pain relievers on a daily basis
  • Having a history of substance abuse or a mental illness
  • Those who live in low income areas are also at a higher risk

Millions of Americans who need the help of a rehab program either do not seek it or do not know where to begin. Family members and friends may also feel desperate or lost seeing their loved one suffering. For more information about how to get  quality addiction treatment, reach out to the specialists at Treatment Search today.

Sources:

http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/ama-wire/post/physicians-steps-address-opioid-overdose-epidemic

http://wric.com/2016/06/19/american-medical-association-adopting-policies-to-combat-opioid-abuse/

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