AAHPM Contributes to National Dialogue on Combatting Prescription Drug Abuse and Overdose Death
Paul E. Tatum, III, MD MSPH CMD AGSF FAAHPM
In recent years headline-grabbing stories of prescription drug overdose and death have captured policymakers’ attention and spurred legislative and regulatory efforts designed to reduce abuse, misuse, and diversion. In the face of these policy proposals, AAHPM has committed to partnering with policymakers to enhance prescriber knowledge and skills while at the same time offering a strong voice in support of preserving ready access to needed medications for patients with serious illness.
Back in 2001 the US Drug Enforcement Administration joined 21 health organizations—including AAHPM—in releasing a statement titled Promoting Pain Relief and Preventing Abuse of Pain Medications: A Critical Balancing Act. It called for a balance in public policy between ensuring legitimate patient care and preventing diversion and abuse, warning that “[f]ocusing only on the abuse potential of a drug…could erroneously lead to the conclusion that these medications should be avoided when medically indicated—generating a sense of fear rather than respect for their legitimate properties.” This focus on balance has served as the Academy’s guiding principle when weighing in on federal efforts to address the prescription drug crisis.