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AAPM Commitment Statement on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic

The ongoing opioid crisis lies at the intersection of two public health challenges: reducing the burden of suffering from pain and containing the increasing toll of the harms that can arise from opioid use disorder. As a step toward addressing these challenges and reversing the opioid epidemic, AAPM is a committed partner organization to the National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM) Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic. In addition to serving as a NAM Action Collaborative Network Member, the Academy is represented by Immediate AAPM Past President Jianguo Cheng, MD PhD on two of the Action Collaborative’s working groups: the Health Professional Education and Training Working Group and the Research, Data, and Metrics Needs Working Group.

As a multidisciplinary professional society, AAPM is committed to improving the care of patients with acute, chronic, and end-of-life pain. Chronic pain alone affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined; costs our nation hundreds of billions dollars in lost productivity; and creates tremendous suffering for patients and their families. While AAPM members, the organizations and individuals that contribute to the NAM Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic, and our entire nation work to address the ongoing opioid epidemic, it is important to remember that opioids are only one of many tools available to treat pain. AAPM members utilize the full spectrum of treatment options, including physical/cognitive/behavioral, pharmacological, interventional, surgical, and integrative modalities. AAPM is especially interested in solutions to the opioid crisis that value research, education, training, and advocacy for improved patient access to pain care that is comprehensive and patient-centered, and that employs a multidisciplinary, team-based approach to multimodal and individualized patient care.

AAPM is committed to lending its collective medical expertise and working with other organizations, including federal agencies such as NAM, to find real solutions to our nation’s opioid epidemic. We believe that federal and state policies should be directed at reducing the problem of opioid over prescribing while, at the same time, allowing appropriate access to all treatment modalities for patient with acute, chronic, and end-of-life pain and for patients with substance use disorder.

Pain Management Task Force Calls for Patient-Centered Treatment of Pain

The HHS Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force has released a draft report calling for individualized, patient-centered pain management to improve the lives of millions of individuals who experience acute and chronic pain. Members of the public have 90 days to provide comments on the report’s recommendations. The Academy is preparing comments and encourages members to provide input as individuals as well. Read about the draft report.

Response to Senator McCaskill Report

A statement from the American Academy of Pain Medicine

As pain physicians, our primary commitment is to provide the best possible care and treatment to our patients. The Academy’s policies prohibit our education and advocacy positions to be compromised by outside influences, such as pharmaceutical companies, just as newspapers and other media outlets don’t allow advertising to compromise their editorial integrity.

The CDC Guideline was created to promote safer use of opioids—not to prohibit their use. The Academy supports the Guideline and believes that opioids should be considered as part of a comprehensive pain management plan. Anything less could put the health of our patients at risk.

Surgeon General Public Health Advisory Urges More Americans to Carry the Opioid-Reversing Drug, Naloxone

A statement from the American Academy of Pain Medicine

The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) applauds U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH comments urging more Americans to carry naloxone, a lifesaving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

In a public health advisory, the Surgeon General encouraged patients currently taking high doses of prescribed opioids as well as other members of the medical community and general public to carry naloxone as a preventative measure.

As the Academy outlined in its July 2015 comments supporting efforts to maximize the availability of naloxone, naloxone saves lives and has no significant negative effects.

“AAPM strongly supports easy and widespread access to naloxone as an important tool for reversing potentially fatal opioid overdoses as part of the comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic,” says AAPM President Steven P. Stanos, DO. “The Academy looks forward to working with the Surgeon General’s Office to further raise awareness, education, and support related to the use of naloxone.”

AAPM Supports FDA in Development of Evidence-Based Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

A statement from the American Academy of Pain Medicine

The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) welcomes FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s comments suggesting the development of evidence-based opioid prescribing guidelines. We stand at the ready to participate in the development of these guidelines for common procedures that could then be incorporated into drug labeling, including the need to safely control patients’ post-operative pain, with time-limited opioid medications when necessary, while at the same time limiting any over-prescribing of opioid medications.

As pain physicians, our primary commitment is to provide the best possible care and treatment to our patients. AAPM represents a diverse scope of physicians who are on the front lines of helping patients manage their pain, through a multidisciplinary approach, incorporating a variety of modalities. Our members include anesthesiologists, internists, neurologists, physiatrists, psychiatrists, surgeons and others.

AAPM members are the most knowledgeable and experienced physicians to assist the FDA in developing evidence-based opioid prescribing guidelines, and we look forward to the opportunity to share our expertise with the FDA.

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American Academy of Pain Medicine