“We have a defining moment before us—the kind of moment that we will look back on in years to come as one in which we as a profession rose to the challenge to save our patients, our families and our communities during a time of crisis,” Dr. Stack wrote.
He likened this epidemic to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, in which policymakers, public health leaders and physicians came together to implement solutions that changed the course of history for people with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis and their loved ones. He called on physicians to “mount a similar response” to the opioid epidemic.
“The loss of lives we are seeing around us and in the news every day is unacceptable—and we don’t have to accept it,” he wrote. “Each and every one of us must band together to take specific actions that will turn the tide.”
He pointed to the five essential actions and resources for physicians that have been identified by the AMA Task Force to Reduce Prescription Opioid Abuse:
Register for and use their state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP)
Enhance their education and training about safe prescribing
Co-prescribe naloxone to patients at risk of overdose
Get training to provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for and help reduce stigma around substance use disorders
Speak out against stigma around patients in pain and the physicians who treat them
See more recent news on actions to stem the opioid abuse epidemic in this Bulletin’s ‘In the News’ section.