U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Tuesday issued the following statement on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) final guidelines on the prescribing of opioids.
“There is no single solution to the opioid crisis – but our addiction prevention efforts must begin in the doctor’s office, before the first prescription for opioids is written,” said Brown. “Physicians are partners in the fight against opioid addiction and these new recommendations will provide a critical resource for primary care providers as they encounter patients struggling with pain management. But guidelines are not enough. If we want to make a true difference in this epidemic, our efforts to combat opioid addiction must go beyond these guidelines. This fight requires a meaningful investment in prevention, treatment, and recovery to help physicians better identify, prevent, and treat opioid addiction.”
In the guidelines, the CDC outlined voluntary recommendations for primary care providers to help combat the opioid crisis. Specifically, the CDC encouraged physicians to: use non-opioid therapies first before turning to opioids to treat chronic pain; prescribe the lowest possible dosage to reduce the risk of addiction; prescribe immediate release opioids instead of extended use versions; and actively monitor patients being treated with opioids.
Brown recently introduced the Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Reduction Act, a comprehensive approach to address the entire spectrum of addiction from crisis to recovery. The bill would implement regular trainings for health care professionals who prescribe opioids to improve their ability to diagnose addiction. It would also boost prevention, improve tools for crisis response for those who fall through the cracks, expand access to treatment, and provide support for lifelong recovery.