The American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) Opioid Task Force 2018 Progress Report shows progress toward reversing the epidemic. Most significantly, opioid prescriptions have fallen across all 50 states, decreasing by more than 55 million nationwide between 2013 and 2017, for an overall decline of 22.2 percent.
In 2017, prescriptions for naloxone (used to reverse opioid overdose) more than doubled and more than 500,000 health-care professionals were enrolled in continuing medical education classes focusing on substance abuse, pain management, and related subjects. Also, as of May 2018, more than 50,000 physicians are certified to distribute buprenorphine in office to treat addiction.
“While this progress report shows physician leadership and action to help reverse the epidemic, such progress is tempered by the fact that every day, more than 115 people in the United States die from an opioid-related overdose,” said Patrice A. Harris, MD, chair of the AMA Opioid Task Force. “What is needed now is a concerted effort to greatly expand access to high quality care for pain and for substance use disorders. Unless and until we do that, this epidemic will not end.”
Source: American Medical Association press release, May 31, 2018.