Target: Joe Pitts, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health
Goal: Demand all medical practitioners complete courses in addiction and pain management upon renewal of their licenses.
Addiction to opiates and overdoses resulting from opiod use are on the rise in the U.S., with many of these addictions stemming from the use of prescription painkillers. In 2013, 1.9 million Americans suffered from substance abuse related to opiod pain medicines such as oxycodone. With the abuse of these painkillers on the rise, it is essential that all medical practitioners, no matter what their specialty, complete courses in addiction and pain management in order to increase the early identification of patients who have an increased likelihood of abusing medications.
The prescription of painkillers by a doctor can be a slippery slope for many people, as many who become addicted to painkillers continue on to use even more dangerous drugs, namely heroin. Because these pain medications are known to be abused by many patients, the healthcare community has identified and established a wide array of evidence-based screening, treatment, and intervention tools and practices. But a report published by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that these tools are not very often employed. This is highly problematic not only because rates of addiction and overdose are increasing, but also because catching addiction early is key in increasing the likelihood of recovery.
Because prescription painkillers have the high possibility of being abused, it is important that the medical community that is prescribing them be vigilant about screening for patients who might be more likely to abuse them. Since many different healthcare professions do not deal regularly with addiction or have much training in a topic that could be highly linked to the medications they are providing, it is essential that there be a requirement for all medical practitioners to undergo a course in addiction and pain management when they renew their licenses. Please sign the below petition to demand that our medical community be better educated and prepared to actively prevent and fight opiate addiction.
Dear Chairman Pitts,
Addiction to opiates in our country has been on the rise for years, and a high percentage of these addictions stem from an original prescription for painkillers. In 2013 alone, 1.9 million Americans suffered from substance abuse related to pain medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. This growing epidemic must be stopped, and a great place to start is by requiring all healthcare professionals, no matter what their specialty, complete a course in addiction and pain management in order to renew their licenses.
The prescription of painkillers by a doctor can be a slippery slope for many people, as often those who are addicted to painkillers will move onto more dangerous drugs such as heroin. Because this slope is so slippery, it is of utmost importance that doctors are aware of the possible effects of the prescriptions they are prescribing, and that they are trained to identify patients who might be at higher risk of abusing these type of drugs. This sort of education is especially important because early identification and treatment is key to addiction recovery.
Ultimately, this increase in the abuse of opiates in our country is disturbing, but we can take measures to begin addressing it. Please take the time to promote education requirements for our healthcare community that will ensure they are trained to spot patients with an increased likelihood of abusing medications.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Rotellam1