HCN News & Notes

MMS Applauds National Call to Action on Opioids

WALTHAM — The president of the Mass. Medical Society (MMS) applauded the National Governors Assoc. and the American Medical Assoc. for their joint statement in calling for united action to end the epidemic of opioid abuse.

“This joint statement by the governors and the nation’s largest physicians’ group demonstrates the intense effort on the part of both parties toward ending this epidemic,” said Dr. Dennis Dimitri, president of the Mass. Medical Society. “It calls for collaboration between physicians and public officials, and describes agreement on the strategies needed to fight the epidemic. It is a statement with both symbolism and substance.”

Dimitri noted that many of the strategies outlined in this joint call to action have already been implemented in the Commonwealth with leadership by both the MMS and state officials. These include robust improvement in the state’s prescription-monitoring program, promulgation of prescribing guidelines for physicians, educating physicians in pain management, educating patients about the risks of these medications and their proper storage and disposal, and recognition of addiction as a disease rather than a crime with prioritization of treatment.

“Physicians in Massachusetts began working with state officials on this issue nearly a year ago, and we realize that more can and will be done,” Dimitri said. “The opioid epidemic remains the medical society’s top priority, and we will continue our efforts to curb any excessive prescribing and to eliminate overdoses and deaths, while at the same time ensuring that those patients with acute and chronic pain are able to get the relief they need.”