PHILADELPHIA, June 22, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) will focus on combating the opioid epidemic at its national conference, which kicks off this week in Philadelphia. AANP will offer several courses at the conference on the management and treatment of pain, including sessions on how clinicians can safely prescribe opioids and strategies to address opioid misuse in communities nationwide. Today more than two million adults suffer from opioid abuse. Last year, Philadelphia had a 30 percent increase in drug overdoses, and 80 percent of those were due to opioids.
"Our nation is struggling with opioid abuse, and nurse practitioners are an active part of the solution," said Dr. Joyce Knestrick, CRNP, FAANP, President-elect, AANP. "More than 4,500 nurse practitioners will have access to exceptional training at this conference that they can employ with their patients at home, and that is a huge step in the right direction in the fight against opioid abuse nationwide."
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), signed into law in July 2016, authorizes qualified NPs and PAs to prescribe medication-assisted treatments for patients with opioid use disorder, after completing 24 hours of required education. CARA designates AANP as one of the qualified organizations to provide the training. AANP collaborated with the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Academy of PAs to provide the education. To date, more than 1,900 NPs have completed the required education and nearly 1,400 nurse practitioners have received the waiver to prescribe these treatments.
Included in this year's conference will be Opioid Prescribing: Safe Practice, Saving Lives – a three-hour session focusing on pain management, all prescription opioids and Centers for Disease Control guidelines for treatment. To date, AANP has successfully provided this training to more than 19,000 nurse practitioners and the expected attendance for the activity this week should bring that number closer to 19,500. With the newly updated content, those that have taken the education in the past should consider repeating the session to learn more about safely treating pain.
"The opioid problem is getting worse by the day, and it's time for our nation to tap the potential of nurse practitioners working on the front lines," said Knestrick. "We're providing exceptional training and opportunities for certification to allow nurse practitioners to take on opioid abuse one community at a time."
There are more than 234,000 nurse practitioners licensed in the U.S., and nurse practitioners complete more than 1.04 billion patient visits annually. AANP is the largest professional organization representing nurse practitioners of all specialties.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties, represents the interests of the more than 234,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers. To locate a nurse practitioner, go to npfinder.com. For more information about NPs, visit aanp.org.
SOURCE American Association of Nurse Practitioners