In an electronic submission published by the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), the institution showed support for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) project for an updated guideline for health workers, that provides recommendations for prescribing opioids.

The NAAG supports the CDC’s project for an updated guideline on opioid prescription for health workers. Credit: Shutterstock

“As attorneys general whose states and residents have been affected by the epidemic of opioid abuse, addiction, diversion, overdose, and death, we write to urge the speedy adoption of the CDC’s Proposed 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain,” said the NAAG in the letter.

The guideline has the main objective of “improving the way opioids are prescribed for safer chronic pain treatment”, said the CDC in its proposal.

The NAAG also addressed that with a better-informed health workers, death and overdose will be prevented and they could improve the access to treatment for patients for whom they are the best choice.

The most recent edit in the guideline was on October 1998, according to CDC’s website. The existing one vary in recommendations and primary care providers said they receive “insufficient training” in prescribing opioid pain relievers.

The project’s draft has outlined 12 recommendations for health workers to prescribe the treatment for chronic pain in three different areas: when the treatment is really needed; which opioid treatment could be the most effective for the differing pathologies as well as dosage, duration, follow-up and discontinuation of the drug; and addressing risks and harms associated with the opioid use.

In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids in the United States. This amount is enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.

There has been a 300% increase in opioid sales in the nation since 1999, but according to surveys, there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain the patient’s report to their doctors.

Reports said 2 million Americans, age 12 or older, have either abused or were dependent on opioid pain relievers in 2013. Also, there have been more than 16,000 people dead from overdose related to opioid pain relievers, an increase of four times since 1999.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention