General News

MMA Vice President, William Gallea, M.D. – Speaks on Difficulty Treating Chronic Pain

The end of July marked the launch of www.knowyourdosemt.org. The resources now available are a result of the work put forth by many physicians and other health care providers serving on MMA’s Prescription Drug Abuse Reduction Committee. It includes an educational module and a health care provider toolkit containing downloadable forms available at no cost.

The launch started in Billings and ended the following day after its promotion in four towns across Montana. Doctor Bill Gallea, MMA Vice President made a call to have physicians, health care providers and the public help attack this public health crisis in Helena, Montana.

Contact the MMA Executive Office to learn how you can promote The Know Your Dose initiative in your community at mmaoffice@mmaoffice.org.

Course Intended For All Specialties: Physicians, Dentists, Physician’s Assistants, Pharmacists, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Advanced Practice Nurses
Course Objectives:

  • Implement recommended prescribing practices and alternate forms of treatment for patients presenting with acute or chronic pain.
  • Use the toolkit and resources to manage patient treatment.
  • Apply the state and federal laws as related to prescribing Schedule II drugs.
  • Examine the prescription drug issue from a state and national level.

Access the Know Your Dose Medical Education Course.

MMA White Paper: A Prescription for Change: Reducing Prescription Drug Abuse, Misuse and Diversion in Montana

In early 2013, the MMA began discussions on the public health crisis of opioid abuse, misuse and diversion with a focus on what the Association might do to assist physicians to become more knowledgeable of the changing best medical practices when treating patients with chronic pain, and encourage cooperation with local law enforcement officials on concerns of possible diversion.

Later that year, the MMA determined the topic demanded the creation of a work group that would bring together physicians with expertise in this area, physicians engaged in practice changes to address the issue and other stakeholders. The MMA Committee on Prescription Drug Abuse was officially launched in January 2014 with nearly 20 physician members and has since met on a regular basis to share their expertise, which laid the groundwork for a framework as described below.

Statistics caught the attention of physicians and those physicians working to address this issue specifically set an overarching goal to decrease the number of overdose deaths in Montana. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) note that enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for one month. Approximately, three out of every four pharmaceutical overdose deaths in 2010 were due to opioid analgesics like oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone. Medicaid patients are prescribed painkillers at twice the rate of non-Medicaid patients and are at six times the risk of prescription painkiller overdose. And unintentional overdose deaths related to prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999—and now outnumber those from heroin and cocaine combined. It has been further noted that within the world of workers’ compensation, there is significant proof that long-term opioid use leads to longer claim duration, longer-term disability, higher costs and higher medical expenses.

Clearly, this issue is deserving of a statewide, multi-stakeholder approach as it reaches beyond the physician office doorway. The consequences impact our families and friends, the communities we live in, and our workplaces. The issue needs to be tackled from both a supply-side and demand-side, and strategies must grow from a framework that is directed at health care providers, patients, law enforcement and the general public. The MMA has expanded its work group to include other stakeholders and offers the below framework to describe how best to engage physicians and to offer action steps to start addressing the issue.

To read the entire MMA White Paper on the subject, please click here.

Prescription Drug Abuse

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CPC) has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic. While there has been a marked decrease in the use of some illegal drugs like cocaine, data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically.

Some individuals who misuse prescription drugs, particularly teens, believe these substances are safer than illicit drugs because they are prescribed by a healthcare professional and dispensed by a pharmacist. Addressing the prescription drug abuse epidemic is not only a top priority for public health, it will also help build stronger communities and allow those with substance abuse disorders to lead healthier, more productive lives.

For more information, including useful resources, please click here.

 

PRESCRIPTION ABUSE PREVENTION