Two US Senators, Joe Manchin (WV) and Tim Scott (SC) have announced the formation of the Senate Prescription Drug Abuse Caucus, with an invitation to their colleagues to participate. The initiative is another volley in the ongoing conundrum of how best to balance access and risk mitigation in the use of opioid analgesics for chronic pain. Daniel Bennett, MD, DABPM, a practicing interventional spine/pain medicine physician and CEO of the newly relaunched National Pain Foundation commented, “What pain doctors and patients worry about is whether this emphasis on one problem—prescription drug abuse—is being undertaken at the expense of millions of people who need these medications in order to combat their chronic pain, living life as normal as possible.”
Other comments from pain practitioners have expressed the wish that the congressional initiative would spotlight the issue of chronic pain, rather than medication abuse. Senator Manchin, who has claimed that his state records the highest mortality rate from overdose deaths—29 people per 100,000—introduced the FDA Accountability for Public Safety Act earlier this year, which would make it more difficult for new and generic opioid drugs to be approved by the FDA.
To read about methadone safety, click here.
To read about opioid use during pregnancy, click here.
To access a slide presentation on medication safety, click here.
To read a news story about the new congressional initiative mentioned above, with links to related stories, click here.