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American Medical Association Calls for Doctor Training to Fight Prescription Drug Abuse


The American Medical Association’s (AMA) policy-making body has called on the organization to promote doctor training on the correct use of controlled substances, in an effort to reduce prescription drug abuse.

The AMA’s House of Delegates, at its Interim Meeting earlier this month, called on doctors to use screening tools from sources such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse to identify patients who are likely to abuse prescription drugs, according to American Medical News. The House of Delegates also said the AMA should encourage doctors to use prescription drug monitoring programs, which are available in 36 states.

The AMA Council on Science and Public Health is scheduled to report on the effectiveness of current drug policies, and make recommendations for preventing prescription drug abuse, at the AMA’s Annual Meeting in June. The council will also look at whether prescription monitoring programs should be expanded to include facilities such as hospitals, Department of Veterans Affairs facilities, veterinarians’ offices and opioid treatment programs, the article notes.

Bills proposed in the House and Senate, known as the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2011, would require doctors to undergo 16 hours of training every three years in order to be registered to prescribe opioids.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered manufacturers of extended-release and long-acting opioids to develop education programs for physicians and other prescribers, which would include information on the risks and benefits of opioids, management and monitoring of patients on opioids, and counseling patients on the safe use of the drugs. The training will not be mandatory.

According to the article, the FDA is accepting comments on the education proposal until December 7, and is expected to issue a final plan in February.

3 Responses to this article

  1. Ben House / December 10, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    I sure hope the training includes pain management beyond medication. I understand the pathways in the brain for emotional and physical pain are very closely interconnected. Once asked why more doctors do not refer patients to counseling and give medications first I replied because the drug reps lobby harder than counselors do. Who do you think was lobbying hardest what content would be in this training?

  2. Angel / December 9, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I hope the pendulum is not leading healthcare providers back to the under treatment of pain, looking suspiciously at all patients that request adequate pain management.

  3. Jeff / November 28, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I cannot believe this organization is endorsing the use of Rx databases. They are intrusive, invasive, and useless. I do agree with doctor training. I would even agree with a doctor requesting a patient have an education session on Rx abuse and to be monitored by the doctor. I would also agree that such the number of pills be limited and the patient must return for refills more often than other drugs. If you look into Rx databases you find limited to no benefit and significant erosion of privacy. Simply because a thing sounds good on the surface doesn’t mean it is a good thing. I wish lawmakers would cease legislating on sound bites and public opinion and move toward evidence-based legislation.

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