Prescription Drug Abuse: A Policy Position Paper From the American College of Physicians

Prescription drug abuse is found throughout all aspects of the U.S. population and is a serious public health problem. Physicians and other health professionals with prescribing privileges are entrusted with the authority to use medications in the treatment of their patients and therefore have an important role in helping to ensure safe and effective use of this treatment option and the deterrence of its abuse. This paper is intended to provide guidance to prescribers and policymakers regarding measures to effectively address the problem of prescription drug abuse and offers the following recommendations: 1. ACP supports appropriate and effective efforts to reduce all substance abuse. These include educational, prevention, diagnostic, and treatment efforts. As physicians dealing with the health effects of this condition, we also support medical research on addiction and its causes and treatment. 2. ACP supports a comprehensive national policy on prescription drug abuse containing education, monitoring, proper disposal, and enforcement elements. 3. ACP supports the consideration by physicians of the full array of treatments available for the effective treatment and management of pain. 4. ACP supports the establishment of a national Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Until such a program is implemented, ACP supports efforts to standardize state PDMPs through the federal National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) program. Prescribers and dispensers should check PDMPs in their own and neighboring states (as permitted) prior to writing or filling prescriptions for medications containing controlled substances. All PDMPs should maintain strong protections to assure confidentiality and privacy. Click here for details