Says, "The record number of overdoses makes it imperative."
WASHINGTON, July 22, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pointing to the record number of opioid overdoses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prevent Opioid Abuse today called on Congress to help put the brakes on further spikes in dependence and addiction throughout the nation by moving expeditiously to pass the Opioid Patients’ Right to Know Act (H1185). There were nearly 70,000 (69,710) opioid overdose deaths in 2020, about a 40% increase over the previous year, according to the CDC.
The Opioid Patients’ Right to Know Act would create a grant program to incentivize states to require prescribers to discuss the addictive qualities of the drugs with patients and inform them of alternative treatment options before prescribing them for acute pain.
Requiring these conversations are making a difference in the 18 states that are now doing so. A Brandeis University Study of the law’s impact in New Jersey, the first state to implement the law, found that the number of patients prescribed opioids for acute pain significantly decreased after the law went into effect. In the month after the law was implemented, nearly 5,000 fewer patients were started on opioids. Additionally, prior to enactment, only 18% of the participants warned patients about the risk of opioid addiction when prescribing opioids. After enactment, 95% routinely warned patients about the risk of addiction.
There are still more than 150 million prescriptions written for opioids annually and people can become dependent on an opioid pain reliever in as little as 5 days.
"Every American has the right to be warned about the highly addictive qualities of opioids — and that there are effective non-opioid pain relief alternatives — and to receive this warning at the time it is most needed — right before an opioid is prescribed," said Elaine Pozycki, the Founder of Prevent Opioid Abuse. "The Opioid Patients’ Right to Know Act provides the incentives needed to persuade every state in the nation to adopt this proven prevention measure. Especially given the spike in opioid overdoses and addiction, it is imperative that Congress move speedily to adopt it."
Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-founder of Physicians for Responsible Prescribing, said, "We know that warning patients about the risks of opioid addiction is an effective, common-sense prevention measure. Passing the Opioid Patient’s Right to Know Act will make it possible for more patients throughout the nation to get this potentially life-saving information at the time it is most needed — right before an opioid-based pain reliever is prescribed."
The Opioid Patients’ Right to Know Act is sponsored by U.S. Representative David Trone (D-MD), along with Reps. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM), and David McKinley (R-WV). Along with providing funding for any state that adopts a conversation requirement, it provides funding for safe prescribing for states that have already done so.
Prevent Opioid Abuse is a national organization that works to educate patients and parents about the risks of opioid-based pain relievers and the availability of non-opioid alternatives.
For more information, visit https://preventopioidabuse.org/.
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