WASHINGTON, March 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to new guidelines for the prescribing of opioids released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the president of the American College of Emergency Physicians Jay Kaplan, MD, FACEP, released the following statement:
"Emergency physicians see first-hand the tragic consequences of opioid misuse and addiction and applaud the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for taking an important step forward in addressing this public health epidemic.
"Typically, emergency physicians provide only short-term prescriptions for opiates and only after exhausting other types of analgesia, such as over-the-counter painkillers. Therefore the recommendation that emergency physicians restrict prescriptions to no more than 7 days' worth of opioid medication aligns well with our practices. We support prescription drug monitoring programs as recommended by the CDC, though remain mindful of their potential for unintended consequences, such as denying legitimate pain patients the pain relief they need. Washington state's Emergency Department Information Exchange is a fine example of how these programs can work well, and we support the expansion of such systems.
"We agree with the American Medical Association that sound scientific evidence must guide any public health policy. This is especially true in the complicated area of pain, for which no objective test exists. Every day in our nation's emergency departments we treat patients suffering acute pain and must balance their immediate needs against the long-term risk of becoming opiate-dependent. It is critical that physicians educate patients on reasonable expectations for treatment of pain in the emergency department, including allowing emergency departments to post signs informing patients of opioid prescription policies. It is also important that health insurance companies reimburse alternative approaches to pain treatment so that an opioid prescription is not the only way to provide affordable pain relief to patients.
"We reiterate our commitment to work together with the federal government, the public and the house of medicine to find lasting solutions to this scourge of the 21st century."
ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.
SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)