American Society of Addiction Medicine: Prevent Misuse of Pain Medications, But Do Not Withhold Them From Patients Who Need Them
CHEVY CHASE, Md., May 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) recognizes the important role of opioids in the treatment of pain, and the necessity of having different types of opioids available to meet the needs of patients with serious pain problems. ASAM also recognizes that diversion of prescription pain medications for use by addicted individuals or for sale by others is an important public health and law enforcement problem. In a Statement released today, ASAM President Andrea Barthwell, M.D., FASAM said that "diversion of prescription pain medications, principally opioids, occurs because of addicted individuals who seek these drugs, or because of individuals who divert them for sale. Restriction of the availability of opioid pain medications will not reduce problems of diversion and addiction, but may deter effective pain treatment for many individuals who suffer with pain." "ASAM," Barthwell said, "is concerned about and opposed to the diversion and abuse of opioid medications because of the threat to individuals and the public health. ASAM supports law enforcement in its efforts to identify and intervene in medication diversion. At the same time, ASAM encourages and supports broader access to medical treatment for individuals addicted to prescription drugs, as well as to other substances. "An important approach to curbing prescription drug diversion is to encourage the health care community, state and federal legislators, law enforcement agencies and pharmaceutical manufacturers to establish education programs and monitoring procedures to ensure that patients who need opioid medications for pain control have access to them, while individuals who would divert or traffice the pain medications do no." The treatment of chronic pain most often requires a multidimensional approach. Opioids alone are rarely effective. If opioids are indicated as a component of treatment, they must be used responsibly and appropriately, with proper evaluation and follow up of the patient. The goals of opioid treatment of chronic pain are to decrease pain and increase the level of function of the patient. When properly prescribed and monitored, the development of addiction to opioids in the course of pain treatment is rare in patients with no history of addictive disease. Special care is required in supporting patients with a history of addiction while using opioids for pain treatment, but effective treatment of pain should be provided to all patients, including those with addictions. Because misunderstandings regarding the nature of addiction are often a barrier to proper pain management, ASAM seeks to educate physicians and the lay public about the proper approaches to the treatment of pain and about the fact that the appropriate treatment of pain with opioid medication does not inevitably lead to addiction. ASAM is also engaged in improving access to appropriate pain treatment for all patients, including those with addictive disorders, using either opioid or non-opioid treatment, as appropriate. ASAM has undertaken this in collaboration with the American Pain Society and the American Academy of Pain Medicine. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) is a national medical specialty society of physicians engaged in research on and prevention and treatment of addiction to alcohol, nicotine and other psychoactive substances. The Society's mission is to educate physicians and to improve access to treatment for individuals with addictions. MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X92587118
SOURCE American Society of Addiction Medicine
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