CHICAGO — Dr. Patrice Harris, chair-elect of the American Medical Assoc., applauded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approving the nasal-spray version of naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose by restoring breathing and preventing death.
“The FDA’s swift action will widely increase accessibility to this medication that will help prevent more opioid-related overdoses and save more lives,” Harris said. “The AMA has long advocated in support of a multi-pronged approach to addressing prescription drug abuse and diversion, which includes increasing access to naloxone for patients who need it.”
With 44 people dying each day from opioid-related overdoses, Harris went on, “we are committed to expanding our efforts aimed at addressing prescription drug abuse and diversion and putting an end to this serious public health epidemic.”
In 2014, the AMA convened the Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse to identify best practices to curb opioid abuse and move swiftly to implement those practices across the country. In addition to increasing access to naloxone, this includes increasing the registration and use of prescription-drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), enhancing physician education, reducing the stigma of having an opioid-use disorder, and improving access to comprehensive pain management.
“The AMA will continue to work with the administration and Congress on efforts to prevent prescription opioid misuse and support congressional and state efforts to modernize and fully fund PDMPs,” Harris said.