March is prescription drug abuse awareness month

March 07, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Drug Prescribing/Dispensing Physician Leadership Public Health 

In 2013, March was established as Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness month in California. This designation gives all of us the opportunity to raise awareness about America's prescription drug abuse epidemic through community awareness events and other actions.  

Like the nation as a whole, California physicians are faced with a serious health care dilemma: how to use opioid medications safely and effectively to relieve pain, while simultaneously reducing the risk of prescription medication misuse, addiction and overdose.


Physicians play an important role in developing and implementing solutions to reduce prescription opioid misuse and overdose, and can have a measurable impact on ensuring effective pain management practices and the evidence-based prescribing of opioids, promoting appropriate referrals and access to care for patients with substance use disorders, and taking necessary steps needed to reduce opioid-related harm. Opioids remain an important part of the pain management toolbox. They are not the only tool, nor necessarily the best tool, for every patient, but for some, opioids can improve function, ease suffering and improve overall quality of life.


The California Medical Association (CMA) is supportive of efforts to address the complicated issues related to prescription opioid misuse and overdose, and supports a well-balanced approach to opioid prescribing and treatment that considers the unique needs of individual patients. CMA offers two white papers for physicians on prescribing opioid medications; both are available in CMA's online resource library.



CMA’s Institute for Medical Quality also frequently hosts continuing medical education in pain management. To find out about available courses, click here.


For more information on California Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month, click here.


Contact: Samantha Pellon, (916) 551-2887 or spellon@cmadocs.org.



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