Opinion

AOA supports efforts to reduce opioid abuse

Physicians can play a role in changing the national discussion around opioid abuse and other substance abuse disorders.

Patients with a substance use disorder need treatment, not stigma. Addiction, also referred to as substance use disorder, is a chronic disease of the brain—one that can be treated successfully. People with a substance use disorder deserve to be treated like any other patient with a medical disease. Physicians can play an active role in changing the national discussion.

The AOA and the AMA Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse are working together to encourage America’s physicians, patients and policymakers to take action in three ways:

  • First, we must change the conversation about what it means to have a substance use disorder and increase access to evidence-based treatments, like medication-assisted treatment, while removing barriers to treatment.
  • Second, we encourage physicians to register for and use prescription drug monitoring programs to help identify when patients may need counseling and treatment. More than identifying “doctor shoppers,” this tool helps uncover the reasons why a patient is seeking medication and to offer a pathway for treatment and recovery.
  • Third, improve prevention of substance abuse, including through early intervention, screening for co-morbidities, and public education campaigns.
  • Physicians see the harsh reality faced by patients with a substance use disorder. Stigmatizing patients helps no one. Treating these patients helps them live as fully functional members of society.

2 comments

  1. why aren’t DOs emphasizing more OMT/OMM to help decrease pain?
    DOs, MDs, pain management, PMR (physiatrists), sports medicine, etc should ALL emphasize following treatments:
    OMM/OMT
    massage therapy
    yoga
    tai-chi
    acupuncture
    hypnotherapy
    counseling (with cognitive behavior treatment [CBT] and other psychological and psychiatric treatments)
    evaluating/treating sleep/insomnia treatment
    evaluating/treating psych issues

  2. I would like to know why we make such a huge deal about combating opioid abuse, but as a profession we sit by and remain silent about marijuana legalization! Marijuana, as a drug, has no research to provide FDA approval, yet we sit back and allow states to pass laws that make it possible to PRESCRIBE it!!! At least we know the benefits and side effects of opioids. We know the half-life and dosing of opioids. We know the effect opioids have on a developing fetus. My hope is that physicians stand up and say we don’t like being told we should prescribe marijuana by the same groups of people trying to regulate opioid prescriptions Due to abuse. It is talking out of both sides of our mouths.

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