Rutledge Applauds CDC for Adopting Guidelines for Prescribing Pain Medications
March 16, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today applauded the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for acting quickly to adopt federal guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. The adoption comes after Rutledge and 35 other State attorneys general in January urged the CDC to approve the proposed guidelines.
“The CDC has acted quickly so that physicians have the tools and knowledge they need to properly prescribe medication,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “There are serious dangers associated with chronic pain medications, but when prescribed effectively they can be the best treatment. However, the problem of prescription drug abuse cannot be ignored, and I will continue building on the successful State and local partnerships to increase public safety and save lives.”
According to the CDC, the U.S. is currently experiencing an epidemic of prescription opioid misuse and overdose. Increased prescribing and sales of opioids — a quadrupling since 1999 — helped create and fuel this epidemic. The CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, United States, 2016, will help primary care providers ensure the safest and most effective treatment for their patients.
Among the 12 recommendations in the guideline, three principles are key to improving patient care:
- Nonopioid therapy is preferred for chronic pain outside of active cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care.
- When opioids are used, the lowest possible effective dosage should be prescribed to reduce risks of opioid use disorder and overdose.
- Providers should always exercise caution when prescribing opioids and monitor all patients closely.
The CDC developed user-friendly materials to assist providers with implementing the recommendations, including a decision checklist. These materials, as well as information for patients, are available at CDC.gov.
Rutledge has been vocal about the problem of prescription drug abuse in Arkansas. Since taking office, she has partnered with local law enforcement agencies to hold Drug Take Back Days, encouraging Arkansas to clean out their medicine cabinets of unused and expired medications to be properly disposed of by law enforcement and now she offered those same drug take back services at each mobile office held throughout the State. She also partnered with the Arkansas Office of the Drug Director, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy and the Criminal Justice Institute to host the annual Prescription Drug Abuse Summit last November in which participants learned about more research and strategies to fight prescription drug misuse and abuse.