ASRA Board Approves Official Position Statement on the Opioid Crisis

Dec 1, 2016

The opioid crisis in America is the result of a number of complicating factors and, therefore, does not have a simple solution. Addressing this important issue requires a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary approach, according to the authors of ASRA's Statement on the Opioid Crisis, approved by the Board of Directors at its November 2016 meeting.

The recently released statement calls on stakeholders to provide education, research, and advocacy to address the opioid crisis and reduce the diversion and abuse plaguing our nation.

According to the position statement, "A patient-centered approach is essential, and opioids, prescribed in reasonable dosages with continued surveillance for benefit, usage, and adverse effects (including aberrant behaviors) should be reserved for patients with intractable chronic pain that is not adequately controlled with non-opioid treatment options, including other pharmacological therapies and interventional pain procedures."

The statement goes on to say that prescribers should have an opioid exit strategy in place for patients who do not benefit from their use.

Key components of effective opioid management include educating physicians about pain management including non-opioid interventions. Physicians must also understand side effects, patient monitoring, and risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS). 

It is the position of ASRA that naloxone (Narcan®) be available to high-risk chronic pain patients and their family members. 

In addition to education, research is critical to better understanding opioid use, abuse, and aberrant behaviors. Advocacy for legislative and regulatory policies to allow legitimate pain patients to access opioids is also important. This includes advocating for insurance coverage of non-opioid pain therapies including interventional pain management options.

Read the full position here.

For more information on opioid use, see the following resources:

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