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When taken in moderation, prescription pain management medication, including opioids, can be extremely beneficial to alleviating the significant daily pain experienced by individuals.

Unfortunately, these products can be highly addictive and easily abused. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, approximately 1.9 million Americans are living with a prescription opioid abuse or dependence disorder. Its reach knows no bounds, as it affects individuals in every single American State, county, socio-economic and ethnic group.

Opioids is a general categorization of “any various compounds that bind to specific receptors in the central nervous system and have analgesic–or pain relieving–effects including prescription medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone and illicit substances such as heroin.”

Just over a half-million American’s are currently living with a heroin addiction, and 23 percent of which will develop chronic opioid addiction disease. The numbers are staggering, and it’s nearly impossible to deny the rate of opioid addiction has increased so exponentially that it has become an epidemic.

And so the United States government has created a Task Force whose goal is to combat prescription opioid abuse while upholding the belief that physicians have a professional obligation to reverse the nation’s opioid epidemic. 

Named the American Medical Association Task Force to Reduce Prescription Opioid Abuse, it’s members are made up of those involved with numerous speciality healthcare associations including the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and the American Academy of Pain Medication, amongst others.

With specific goals to meet, the Task Force hopes to combat opioid addiction in the United States completely by holding more physicians accountable. These goals include:

  1. Increasing physicians’ registration and use of effective PDMPs
  2. Enhancing physician’s education on effective, evidence-based prescribing
  3. Reducing the stigma of pain and promoting comprehensive assessment and treatment
  4. Reducing the stigma of substance use disorder and enhance access to treatment
  5. Expanding access to naloxone in the community and through co-prescribing