5 things to know about physician views on preventing opioid overdose

Findings from a survey conducted by the American Medical Association Task Force to Reduce Prescription Opioid Abuse reveal physicians strongly support key policies and recommendations to end the nation's opioid epidemic.

The survey was conducted between Nov. 13 and 23 and includes responses from 2,130 practicing physicians who work with patients directly at least 20 hours per week, are licensed to prescribe Schedule II controlled substances and prescribe opioids on a weekly basis.

Here are five key takeaways from the survey.

1. Physicians value prescription drug monitoring programs. A majority (87 percent) of physicians say prescription drug monitoring programs help them become more informed about a patient's prescription history.

2. That said, these programs need work. Many respondents said prescription drug monitoring programs would be more beneficial if they worked with electronic health records, provided real-time data and other key features.

3. Physicians want more CME training on opioids. Roughly two thirds (68 percent) of the survey respondents have taken continuing medical education courses on safe opioid prescribing, and roughly half (55 percent) have taken CME on managing pain with opioid alternatives. Still, one in four physicians said the CME they needed was not readily available.

4. Significant barriers to non-opioid treatments persist. According to the surveyed physicians, the biggest barriers to using opioid alternatives include a lack of insurance coverage, difficulty finding pain treatment specialists to whom they can refer their patients and pressures to achieve high patient satisfaction scores.

5. Support for co-prescribing naloxone is strong. More than 80 percent of physicians said naloxone should be available to a patient at risk of an overdose through a standing order or collaborative practice agreement with a pharmacist.

"This survey provides an important window into physicians' perceptions about caring for patients with pain and those with substance use disorders," said AMA President Steven J. Stack, MD. "This survey confirms that physicians support many of the key policies being considered to end this crisis. The AMA and the nation's physicians are committed to partnering with others to implement proven solutions."



More articles on opioids:
Multimodal pain treatment can shorten hospital stays, lower post-op opioid doses, pilot study suggests
Study offers new strategies for pain control post-total knee replacement
5 Minnesota hospitals band together to counter opioid abuse

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