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Stakeholders split on new CDC opioid guidelines

January 13, 2016
by Julie Miller, Editor in Chief
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Today is the last day to file comments on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) draft of new opioid prescribing guidelines. There are well over 3,300 comments presented, seemingly an even split among those who support the guidelines and those who oppose.

The Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain provides 12 recommendations regarding initiation or continuation of opioids for chronic pain; opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation; and assessment of risk and addressing harms of opioid use. It is not a federal regulation, so adherence is voluntary for prescribers.

A new survey that found the majority of physicians welcome the guidelines. SERMO, a social media network exclusively for doctors, found 87% of 1,617 doctors surveyed are supportive of CDC efforts.

The survey also asked 1,961 doctors what they thought was the most important tactic to curb opioid abuse:

  • 43% said broader use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) and making PDMPs interoperable across state lines;
  • 20% said more education for physicians on proper prescribing practices;
  • 14% said increased access to medication assisted treatment programs;
  • 14% said more education for patients at risk;
  • 7% said increased access to naloxone for friends and families of those at risk for overdose; and
  • 2% said needle exchange programs.
  • Additionally, 63% said they were registered for their local PDMP.

The doctors were supportive of a public awareness campaign to educate people about naloxone and its availability. However, respondents were split on whether naloxone should be offered over the counter.

There was personal significance among some of the physicians who responded, with 50% saying they know someone personally who has suffered or is suffering from addiction to opioids.

An infographic with the SERMO survey results can be found here.