Thursday, April 21, 2011

More Training Requirements on the Horizon for Prescription Pain Medication Prescribers?

Earlier this week, the Obama Administration announced new initiatives intended to help control the epidemic of prescription pain medication abuse in the US.

Administration officials including R. Gil Kerlikowski, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) called for new mandatory training requirements for physicians seeking to prescribe painkillers including Oxycontin, Diluadid, fentanyl, and methadone. Prescription painkiller diversion and abuse have created an epic public health problem in the US, detailed in many places including in a prior CPDDBlog post on prescription painkiller abuse by NFL players.

Government health and substance abuse policy experts believe that physician training may help reduce the problem.

The proposed mandatory training would be designed to improve physicians’ pain medication prescribing practices in a number of ways including by enhancing their ability to identify patients faking pain conditions to obtain and then divert or abuse pain medications.

The New York Times reported that instituting a mandatory training policy may require Congressional action to modify the Controlled Substances Act.

Later this month on April 30th, the 2nd National Prescription Drug Take Back day, organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will be held to allow people to safely discard their unused prescription medications, including painkillers. The 1st National Prescription Drug Take Back day held last September was highly successful; the DEA reported that over 120 tons of prescription pills were discarded.

CPDDBLOG welcomes CPDD member’s thoughts on this issue.

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