Opioid and heroin abuse is an epidemic that kills 78 Americans every day, explains a new video from the Alliance for Patient Access. But as federal agencies, state lawmakers, professional organizations and inter-agency collaborations lay out different plans for addressing the epidemic, people must ask: Which plans will work? And which will curb abuse without undermining legitimate medical care for patients in pain?
The answer, explains “Finding an Opioid Abuse Solution that Works,” lies in part with three basic questions:
- Does this solution keep the physician-patient relationship as the driving force in patient care?
Some plans would dictate which patients should receive opioids, when and at what doses. Informed prescribing decisions that help reduce abuse and addiction are in everyone’s best interest. But those decisions should remain in the hands of physicians and the patients they treat – not government bureaucrats.
- Does this solution give patients and physicians choices beyond opioids?
Integrated care for chronic pain and multimodal analgesia for patients undergoing surgery or dealing with acute pain may be important. Yet health plans do not always cover comprehensive approaches to pain management.
With more treatment options, physicians can help patients manage pain in a way that’s safe and effective for each individual patient. But policies must provide for health plan coverage that includes these techniques – not simply coverage that drives patients to the least costly alternative.
- Does this plan use available technology to help address opioid abuse?
Abuse-deterrent technology allows manufacturers to create opioid medications that resist crushing or dissolving for recreational use. They’re an innovative way to curb misuse without impeding access for patients who use these medications appropriately to manage pain.
Policymakers, health care providers and patients all want the same thing, AfPA’s video concludes: to prevent addiction and overdose and to protect patient access. Workable solutions are those that do both – while preserving the physician-patient relationship.
To learn more, watch “Finding an Opioid Abuse Solution that Works.”