Joint principles of the following organizations representing front-line physicians
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Pediatrics
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American College of Physicians
American Osteopathic Association
American Psychiatric Association
On behalf of the more than 560,000 physicians and medical students represented by the combined memberships of the above organizations, we have adopted the following principles to address the opioid crisis impacting a significant number of individuals, families, and communities across the country.
The crisis has left few untouched, with an average of 115 Americans dying every day from an opioid overdose.1 In fact, many families are impacted by opioid use disorder, including pregnant women, resulting in rising numbers of infants being born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and increased rates of maternal mortality. Additionally, children are experiencing trauma as a result of a parent or other family member's substance use disorder (SUD). We urge policymakers to implement solutions that focus on families grappling with other substance use disorders as well as they address the immediate opioid crisis. We are committed to addressing the problem through a comprehensive approach that includes education, improved access to coverage and quality care, and addressing the stigma of addiction while not impeding patients' access to medications needed to treat chronic pain.
Much attention has been paid to the opioid crisis by the administration, Congress, and at the state level with legislation and regulatory proposals currently being considered to curb the epidemic. Efforts to address opioid use disorder (OUD) and overdose must be built on scientific evidence that shows that a SUD is a chronic disease of the brain that can be effectively treated. Specifically, legislation and regulatory approaches must: