Opioid analgesics have become an important and effective medication in the treatment for a wide range of serious medical conditions. When used properly, opioid drugs provide significant benefits to patients. These drugs are also associated with the risk for abuse, misuse, diversion, and death. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in 2009 more than 15,000 people died in the U.S. after overdosing on narcotic pain relievers. This represents an increase of 300% in the last two decades. The statistics also show that for each death there are an additional 10 treatment admissions, 32 emergency room visits, and 825 non-medical users of these drugs. One study found that, in the last decade, opioid related fatal prescription overdoses exceeded those involving cocaine and heroin combined.
State level data for Maryland shows that we have not been immune from this growing problem. Prescription opioid analgesic-related admissions to Maryland Alcohol and Drug-Abuse Administration funded treatment programs increased 106% from 2007 to 2010 and by 139% as the primary reported substance of abuse. The statistics indicate that prescription drug abuse is highest among young people and women. For instance, in 2010 45% of opioid related treatment admissions were for people in their twenties.
The FDA has approved a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) for extended-release (ER) and long-acting (LA) opioid medications. The Collaborative on REMS Education (CO*RE), a multi-disciplinary collaboration of 10 Partners and three cooperating organizations have designed a core curriculum based on needs assessment, practice gaps, clinical competencies, learner self-assessment, with shared tools, resources and outcomes to meet the requirements of the FDA REMS Blueprint
MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, has been participating in this educational endeavor, presenting educational REMS activities and Maryland PDMP education, across the state since 2013. MedChi has and continues to provide education on pain management, opioids, and addiction to physicians and health care clinicians as part of its overall mission to improve patient care.
In 2017, MedChi will provide, as part of its Physician Dispensing online education, a new module on Opioid Management and the Maryland PDMP. This new module is expected to be available in July. In 2018, MedChi will renew its collaboration with the FDA REMS program with educational programs.
MedChi’s Opioid Taskforce is working to develop educational materials to support and enhance best practice in the use of opioids in the treatment for pain.
Please revisit this site for support materials, information, educational offerings, and registration information.
For the Opioid Tool Kit materials, please click here.
The following programs were offered in 2013-2015. They will resume in 2018: