Physicians focus on prescription drug abuse

February 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

Physicians know that prescription medications and opioids can be highly effective in treating pain. They also know that widespread abuse of those medications has caused a health crisis in Massachusetts and across the country.

Dr. Barbara Herbert

The latest episode of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Physician Focus television show presents a physician’s perspective on the pressing problem of prescription drug abuse. In a discussion led by Barbara Herbert, M.D., Medical Director of Addiction Service at Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA) and President-Elect of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, physicians describe how providers must balance the alleviation of pain with the risks of addiction.

Dr. Herbert cites an Institute of Medicine report that chronic pain affects more than 100 million American adults, and she says that “the reliance on prescription opioid medication grew out of physician good faith efforts to relieve the suffering caused by pain.” Now, “we are faced with an epidemic of overuse, inappropriate use, and diversion of those medications.”

She believes that CCA is bringing “novel leadership” to the issue of prescription medication and opioid abuse because the organization has a “vision of team care that enhances member dignity.” And, she asserts, CCA is “committed to relieving the suffering caused by pain by utilizing multiple modalities, not just opioid medication.”

Dr. Herbert believes that “the best use of opioids happens when patients and providers are engaged with each other and together work out a plan.” To this end, she says, CCA is “working with providers and members together to reduce the risk of diversion and addiction from prescription opioid medications.”

Click here to watch the latest episode of Physician Focus.

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