Prevent Opioid Abuse Calls for Action to Accelerate the Positive Downward Trend in Opioid Painkiller Prescriptions

For Immediate Release:

Rob Horowitz,

Prevent Opioid Abuse Calls for Action to Accelerate the Positive Downward Trend in Opioid Painkiller Prescriptions

“It is up to Every State in the Nation to Act”

Responding to a recent study showing a 9% nationwide decline in the number of opioid-based pain reliever prescriptions filled by pharmacies last year, Prevent Opioid Abuse, a national organization working to educate patients and parents about the risks of opioid-based painkillers and the available non-opioid alternatives, today called on every state in the nation to arm its’ residents with the real-time information required to dramatically speed up this positive trend. The organization pointed out that even with this welcome decline, about 200 million opioid prescriptions were written last year with millions of people taking these highly addictive medications for the first time.

Prevent Opioid Abuse urged all states to follow the lead of New Jersey, Rhode Island, Nevada and Maryland, and adopt legislation giving patients and parents the information they need to prevent opioid addiction at the time when they most need it – when an opioid painkiller is about to be prescribed.

The legislation requires prescribers to inform all patients, and parents of minors , about the risk of addiction before an opioid is prescribed and when appropriate, discuss the availability of non-opioid alternative pain relief treatments. This common-sense requirement enables patients and parents to recognize signs of addiction and alerts them to less risky alternative methods of pain relief. Maryland became the most recent state to adopt this legislation with Governor Larry Hogan signing it into law on April 24, 2018.

“While it is good to see this positive downward trend, we have a long way to go before we truly accomplish curbing the opioid epidemic,” said Elaine Pozycki, Founder of Prevent Opioid Abuse. “Requiring a conversation between doctors and patients and parents before an opioid is prescribed that includes a discussion of non-opioid pain relief alternatives will speed the decline in the number of opioid prescriptions written.”

Pozycki added, “All patients and parents of patients have the right to know that the medicine they are being prescribed can lead to dependency and addiction. They should also be made aware that there are non-opioid alternatives available that will work for all but the most extreme pain.”

Unfortunately, doctors rarely discuss the addiction potential of opioids before prescribing them,” said Andrew Kolodny, MD, Co-Founder of Physicians for Responsible Prescribing and a Senior Adviser to Prevent Opioid Abuse. “Requiring this conversation will not only result in better- informed parents, patients and prescribers, it will save lives and spare many families from the devastating impact of opioid addiction.”

The over-prescribing of opioid-based pain relievers, such as Oxycodone and Vicodin, is the primary cause of today’s epidemic of opioid addiction, both to opioid-based painkillers and their illegal street cousin, heroin. Two hundred million prescriptions for opioid-based painkillers are written annually in the United States, and Americans take more than 80 percent of the opioid-based painkillers used globally, despite representing just 5 percent of the world’s population.

The results of this overprescribing can be seen in every state of the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, more than 42,000 people died from overdoses from opioids in the United States in 2016, exceeding the number of people that died from breast cancer

“The National Opioid Commission has made the proposed requirement for a conversation between prescriber and patient before an opioid is prescribed one of its major national recommendations.

Maryland Passes Right to Know law for all patients— becoming 6th state to pass a conversation requirement

Governor Signs Bill Last Week Dealing With Opioid Prescriptions

April 27, 2018 – 9:34 pm
It would require health care providers to have discussions with patients before writing an opioid prescription.

Annapolis, Md (KM). It’s something doctors and other health care providers don’t often discuss with their patients, but now they’ll be required to do so under a bill signed into law last week by Governor Larry Hogan. It would require physicians, dentists, nurses and other medical professionals who prescribe opioid pain killers to their patients to discuss with them the risks of addiction from these drugs. They would also need to offer a non-opioid pain relievers if they’re available.

Read complete article here.

Maryland lawmakers tackle opioid legislation

Nevada Passes Conversation Requirement as Part of Comprehensive Controlled Substance Legislation

Governor Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services today announced an important reminder that the provisions of Assembly Bill 474, the Controlled Substance Abuse Prevention Act, will go into effect January 1, 2018. This measure was introduced by the Governor during his 2017 State of the State address, unanimously passed through both houses of the Legislature, and was signed into law on June 16, 2017.

Read complete article here.

Read Governor Sandoval’s letter to Elaine Pozycki

Michigan Adopts Right to Know Law for Youth and their Parents–becoming 5th State to Pass a Conversation Requirement

From the December 27 Detroit News:

“Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed a 10-bill package Wednesday aimed at reducing Michigan’s rapidly growing opioid addiction by requiring doctors and the state to better track and control the flow of opioid-based prescription drugs.

Calley signed six bills that will collectively require doctors to use a new online prescription tracking state database, set up a legitimate doctor-patient relationship and limit the number of pills dispensed in a given seven-day period. It comes as the number of heroin and prescription opioid overdose deaths in Michigan has doubled during the past five years.”

POA Works to Line up Sponsors in All 50 States at National Conference of State Legislators in Boston

The Prevent Opiod Abuse Team.

Gov. Raimondo Signs Legislation To Curb Opioid Crisis

Gov. Gina Raimondo is slated to sign several pieces of legislation Monday, aimed at curbing the opioid crisis.

The ceremonial signing includes bills to require health professionals to discuss the risk of addiction before they prescribe opioids to patients and stricter penalties for distributing fentanyl.

Read complete article here.

White House Panel Recommends Declaring National Emergency on Opioids

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s commission on the opioid crisis asked him Monday to declare a national emergency to deal with the epidemic.

The members of the bipartisan panel called the request their “first and most urgent recommendation.”

Read complete article here.

Senate passes legislation that requires prescribers to discuss opioid risks

STATE HOUSE — The Senate has passed legislation introduced by Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) that would require health care professionals to discuss the dangers of opioid addiction before prescribing the medication.

“We’re battling a lethal epidemic that is killing more people a year than motor vehicle crashes,” said Senator Archambault. “More than 52,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2015 — and 63 percent of those deaths involved an opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The legislation (2017-S 0493A) would require that a health care professional authorized to issue prescriptions, prior to issuing an initial prescription for an opioid drug, discuss with the patient who is 18 years of age or older or the patient’s parent or guardian if the patient is under 18, specifically the risks of developing a dependence or addiction on the prescription opioid drug and potential of overdose or death, the adverse risks of concurrent use of alcohol or other psychoactive medications.

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