According to the President's letter in the April issue of CAP Today, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. The majority of drug overdose deaths involve an opioid, and nearly half of drug overdoses caused by opioids involve prescription drugs.
The American Medical Association (AMA) has formed a task force to combat the opioid crisis and has supported state-based prescription drug monitoring programs through which registered physicians can access information about their patients’ current medications before prescribing a new one. The AMA also supports increased access to naloxone to reduce deaths from overdose and encourages physicians to become certified in providing medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders with buprenorphine.
R. Ross Reichard, M.D., Medical Director of the Office of Decedent Affairs at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and Chair of the CAP Forensic Pathology Committee, attests to the need for good communication among clinical toxicology laboratories, health care providers, poison control centers, medical examiners and coroners, and forensic pathologists.
According to Dr. Reichard, "Maintain a low threshold to call colleagues and encourage them to do the same. Combining intersecting points of view educates and saves time."