The American opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on families across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 44 people lose their life everyday from an opioid overdose. When a people die from an overdose, they are survived by countless loved ones. While both federal and local government agencies have taken drastic steps to alter opioid prescribing practices through limiting the amount and frequency a drug can be prescribed and implementing prescription drug databases to track suspicious prescribing, people continue to lose their lives which means there is a lot more that needs to be done if we are to curb the epidemic.
Last week, the parents of opioid overdose deaths called upon the CDC at a hearing about opioid painkiller abuse, urging the agency to publish guidelines on opioid prescribing practices, The Wall St. Journal reports. The public forum was the result of the proposed guidelines being met with opposition by both pain sufferers and lobbyists for pharmaceutical companies.
The draft guidelines were made up of a dozen recommendations for physicians with regard to the prescribing of pain medication, according to the article. The proposed guidelines would not be mandatory. The CDC’s aim is the safer prescribing of opioids, which are both highly addictive and carry a high risk of overdose.
The recommendations for primary care physicians include:
- The Use of Opioid Alternatives
- The Use of the Lowest Effective Opioid Dose
- Shortening the Duration of Use
- Screening Patients for Current Prescriptions to Stop Doctor Shopping
While the guidelines were met with some opposition, there are a number of doctors and public health officials who support the publication of the recommendations, the article reports. What’s more, there are a number of families who would like what they have been forced to endure to not befall other families.
“I am a father who’s had the anguish of having to bury his firstborn son, who was addicted to opioids,” said Gary Mendell, founder of a nonprofit group called Shatterproof. “To reverse this horrible epidemic, the medical community is urgently in need of guidance from the CDC.”