AMA Report Reveals Changing Trends in Evolving Opioid Epidemic

American Medical Association’s (AMA) Opioid Task Force recently released a new report which shows changes in the overdose and fatality rates during the continuing opioid epidemic.  Although deaths involving prescription opioids has decreased, deaths involving illicit opioids and stimulants has increased from 2015 to 2019.  One could speculate about how the current landscape of the health care system has affected this change.

“Physicians have reduced opioid prescribing, increased use of state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) and increased the prescribing of naloxone. Physicians also have continued to educate themselves on safe prescribing, pain management and recognizing signs of addiction.”

Despite all of these updates, the AMA suggests that the health care system must pivot further to address those in danger of overdose from all drugs.

“The AMA is calling on stakeholders—including health insurers and policymakers—to remove barriers to evidence-based care [for patients with pain].”

opioid epidemic

The report also highlighted that every state has decreased access to legitimate opioid analgesics, “no state has taken meaningful action to require health insurers to increase access to non-opioid pain care or to remove arbitrary restrictions on access to opioid therapy. A recent survey from The American Board of Pain Medicine found 92 percent of pain medicine physicians said they have been required to submit a prior authorization for non-opioid pain care.”

In addition to addressing co-occurring mental health disorders, and risk factors for addiction, AMA suggests that policymakers:

“Remove administrative and other barriers to comprehensive, multimodal, multidisciplinary pain care and rehabilitation programs.”

You can find more details about the report and the additional suggested changes for policymakers by the AMA by reading the original article by WorkCompWire here.


For information on drug-free, opioid-alternative pain management treatment options such as H-Wave, click here.

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