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Opioids drive continued increase in drug overdose deaths
Date:2/20/2013

ed high doses of these drugs," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "Appropriate screening, identification, and clinical management by health care providers are essential parts of both behavioral health and chronic pain management."

Additional steps are being taken at the national, state and local levels, as well as by non-governmental organizations, to help prevent overdoses from prescription drugs.

In particular, the federal government is:

  • Tracking prescription drug overdose trends to better understand the epidemic.
  • Encouraging the development of abuse-deterrent opioid formulations and products that treat abuse and overdose.
  • Educating health care providers and the public about prescription drug abuse and overdose.
  • Requiring that manufacturers of extended-release and long-acting opioids make educational programs available to prescribers about the risks and benefits of opioid therapy, choosing patients appropriately, managing and monitoring patients, and counseling patients on the safe use of these drugs.
  • Using opioid labeling as a tool to inform prescribers and patients about the approved uses of these medications.
  • Developing, evaluating and promoting programs and policies shown to prevent prescription drug abuse and overdose, while making sure patients have access to safe, effective pain treatment.

Promising steps that many states are taking include:

  • Starting or improving prescription drug monitoring programs, which are electronic databases that track all prescriptions for opioids in the state.
  • Using prescription drug monitoring programs, public insurance programs, and workers' compensation data to identify improper prescribing of opioids.
  • Setting up programs for public insurance programs, wo
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SOURCE Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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