Bill would require education for opioid prescribers

May 12, 2011

A bill introduced recently by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va, would require physicians and other healthcare providers seeking to obtain or renew a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration registration number to complete CME related to responsible opioid prescribing practices.

 

The Obama administration wants you to know more about the opioids that you’re prescribing.

A bill introduced recently by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va, would require physicians and other healthcare providers seeking to obtain or renew a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration registration number to complete CME related to responsible opioid prescribing practices.

In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now is requiring manufacturers of long-acting and extended-release opioids to develop a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, including educational materials for prescribers as well as materials for use when counseling patients.

The CME called for in the bill would be 16 hours of training every three years on treatment and management of opioid-dependent patients, pain management treatment guidelines, and early detection of opioid addiction.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) welcomed the legislation. “We are poised to work in collaboration with the administration, the FDA, the pharmaceutical industry and others to preserve the ability of family physicians to properly take care of patients with chronic pain, including the use of opioids," says Daniel Ostergaard, MD, AAFP’s vice president for health of the public and interprofessional activities.

However, at least one primary care physician doubts the program will accomplish much. “I don't believe that it is a lack of knowledge issue,” says Jeffrey Huotari, who practices in Houghton, Michigan. “It is more of an intentional disregard of the knowledge by a minority of prescribers, and a reluctant, guilt-driven sense of responsibility to help relieve pain despite the knowledge by a majority of prescribers that creates this issue. Mandating CME won't help either of these.”

The Centers for Disease Control has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic, citing a 400% increase from 1998 to 2008 in substance abuse treatment program admissions among people 12 and older who reported any pain reliever abuse.

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