American Osteopathic Association

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American Osteopathic Association Joins 27 Physician Groups to Address America’s Opioid Crisis

Task force engages physicians to curb opioid abuse

CHICAGO, July 29, 2015—Opioid abuse is a serious public health problem that has reached crisis levels across the United States, with 44 people dying each day from overdose of opioids, and many more becoming addicted. Recognizing the urgency and serious impact of this issue on the health of hundreds of thousands of patients across the country, today the American Osteopathic Association announced its participation in the American Medical Association (AMA) Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse, which announced the first of several national recommendations to address this growing epidemic.

The AMA Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse is comprised of 27 physician organizations including the AMA, American Osteopathic Association, 17 specialty and seven state medical societies  as well as the American Dental Association that are committed to identifying the best practices to combat this public health crisis and move swiftly to implement those practices across the country.

“As an organization representing the nation’s more than 110,000 DOs and osteopathic medical students, we believe sensible solutions are needed to address this public health emergency,” said John Becher, DO, president of the American Osteopathic Association. “Opioid abuse must be tackled to save lives and ensure appropriate, medically necessary pain management for those patients in need. The AOA’s participation in the Task Force ensures that the osteopathic, whole-person approach will be a key aspect of the strategies developed to address this crisis.”

The task force’s initial focus will be on efforts that urge physicians to register for and use state-based prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) as part of the decision-making process when considering treatment options. When PDMPs are fully funded, contain relevant clinical information and are available at the point of care, they have been shown to be an effective tool to help physicians identify patients who may be misusing opioids, and to implement treatment strategies including referral for those in need of further care, according to the AMA.

The AOA and AMA have long advocated in support of important initiatives aimed at addressing prescription drug abuse and diversion. This includes continued work with the administration and Congress toward developing balanced approaches to end prescription opioid misuse, as well as supporting congressional and state efforts to modernize and fully fund PDMPs.

The new initiative will seek to significantly enhance physicians’ education on safe, effective and evidence-based prescribing. This includes a new resource Web page that houses vital information on PDMPs and their effectiveness for physician practices, as well as, a robust national marketing, social and communications campaign to significantly raise awareness of the steps that physicians can take to combat this epidemic and ensure they are aware of all options available to them for appropriate prescribing.

About the American Osteopathic Association

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 110,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at



Nicole Grady
American Osteopathic Association
(312) 202-8038


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