ASRA/ASA Ad Hoc Working Group on Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

Anesthesiologists and pain physicians are in a unique position to positively impact the opioid crisis.  In addition to striving to use the smallest doses of opioid for the least amount of time, our members may initiate treatment for opioid withdrawal and substance use disorder (SUD) and are key in initiating recovery and preventing relapse.  Pain physicians should be prepared to initiate treatment for opioid withdrawal and SUD as a bridge to definitive treatment. In caring for perioperative patients with SUD, anesthesiologists should be prepared to continue treatment for patients already in-recovery to prevent relapse. They should also be prepared to initiate medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in the postoperative setting    However, most anesthesiologists are not trained in addiction medicine, and many are not as familiar with SUD interventions.

The ASRA/ASA Ad Hoc Working Group of Substance Use Disorder is comprised of two members from ASRA, two members from the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and one member from each of the following participating societies. 

  • American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM)
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • American Society of Health-system Pharmacists (ASHP)

The goals of the ASRA/ASA Ad Hoc Working Group on Substance Use Disorder are to:

  • Identify educational needs of anesthesiologists treating people with SUD
  • Recommend and/or develop educational resources on SUD
  • Develop practice guidance on X waivers
  • Provide an understanding of how and when an X waiver is not needed to prescribe buprenorphine
  • Clarify the legal requirements for treating SUD.