ASA Leaders Participate in White House Briefing on Initiatives to Combat Opioid Abuse - American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

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ASA Leaders Participate in White House Briefing on Initiatives to Combat Opioid Abuse

On Monday, March 19, President Donald Trump announced an opioid response as part of the Administration’s effort to reduce opioid prescriptions by one-third within three years. ASA leaders, ASA President James Grant, M.D., M.B.A., FASA and ASA Immediate Past President Jeffrey Plagenhoef, M.D., FASA, participated in the White House briefing.

The Administration’s plan focuses on three components: education and prevention; law enforcement and interdiction; and treatment and recovery efforts. Key components of the proposal include:

  • A nationwide evidence-based campaign to raise public awareness about opioids
  • Reduce over-prescription of opioids, including implementation of a safer prescribing plan
  • Secure borders and identify and inspect high-risk shipments using drug-detecting canines
  • Advance the Department of Justice Prescription Interdiction and Litigation Task Force to fight the crisis; deploy appropriate criminal and civil action to hold opioid manufacturers accountable
  • Work to ensure first responders are supplied with naloxone
  • Expand access to evidence-based addiction treatment

Additionally, the Administration’s plan includes provisions that would ensure that 75 percent of opioid prescriptions reimbursed by government health programs like Medicare and Medicaid are issued using "best practices." The plan also encourages states to adopt a prescription drug monitoring database that health care providers can access nationwide.

Several elements of the Administration’s plan include measures recommended by the president’s opioid commission, of which ASA supported multiple provisions.

Earlier this month, Dr. Plagenhoef spoke with the Attorney General and Surgeon General Jerome Adams, M.D., about ASA's ongoing efforts as part of the White House Opioid Summit. ASA also recently submitted formal comments to the Senate Committee on Finance including several ways for Congress to address the ongoing opioid abuse epidemic through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) programs. ASA’s recommendations include increased funding for research, coverage for non-opioid alternatives -- including interventional therapies for chronic pain -- and Congressional support for public-private education initiatives aimed at improving practices in the perioperative setting and encouraging opioid sparing techniques. Dr. Grant also participated in a CMS listening summit about the nation’s opioid crisis.

ASA will continue to monitor Congressional and Administration efforts to combat opioid abuse and is pleased to support private-public partnerships that seek to address the opioid abuse epidemic.

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