September 21, 2021.
Over the past decade, there has been a 44.4% decrease in opioid prescribing nationwide, according to a new report from the American Medical Association (AMA). Yet, the nation continues to see increases in overdose mainly due to illicit fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, methamphetamine and cocaine. To address this continuing epidemic, the AMA is urging policymakers to join physicians to reduce mortality and improve patient outcomes by removing barriers to evidence-based care, by acting now to:
- Stop prior authorization for medications to treat opioid use disorder.
- Ensure access to affordable, evidence-based care for patients with pain, including opioid therapy when indicated. While opioid prescriptions have decreased, the AMA is greatly concerned by widespread reports of patients with pain being denied care because of arbitrary restrictions on opioid therapy or a lack of access to affordable non-opioid pain care.
- Take action to better support harm reduction services such as naloxone and needle and syringe exchange services.
- Improve the data by collecting adequate, standardized data to identify and treat at-risk populations and better understand the issues facing communities.
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