that in mind, the Division of Education is developing a new
educational curriculum called Opioids and Surgery: Use,
Abuse, and Alternatives. The program comprises professional
and patient education materials aimed at supporting comprehensive training for surgical professionals and provides
evidence-based data to help physicians meet the necessary
guidelines for health literacy, surgical safety, and informed
The four standing committees of the Resident and Associate Society of the ACS (RAS-ACS) have unanimously selected
the opioid crisis as the overarching theme for the August
issue of the Bulletin. Surgical trainees are at the forefront of
this epidemic, and as Chair of the RAS-ACS, I am impressed
by the fact that RAS-ACS members have demonstrated such
keen interest in tackling this crisis head on. It is a testament
to their commitment to accepting responsibility for policing
the profession and protecting our patients.
To further illustrate the enthusiasm and vigor of surgical
trainees when it comes to the opioid epidemic, several groups
of residents have been studying and surveying the prescribing
practices of residents and fellows. By involving the RAS-ACS,
we were able to consolidate these efforts into a large national
survey that was delivered to 12,047 surgical trainee members.
The survey was partitioned into several themes focused on
pain management, prescribing practices, knowledge, beliefs
and attitudes, and public policy. Data analysis is under way
and is expected to be completed in the fall 2017.
The political arena, changes in health policy, and public
health crises, such as the opioid epidemic, are all salient
topics that continue to galvanize our discipline and reaffirm our cohesive desire to work on behalf of our patients.
With specific points that apply to each RAS-ACS standing
committee—Advocacy and Issues, Communications, Education, and Membership—members of the RAS-ACS present
the following articles describing the effects of the opioid crisis
on each area of surgical training and practice. The authors
explore the surgeon’s role in enhancing patient education, the
use of preoperative communication for opioid stewardship,
methods to reverse and alleviate the opioid crisis, as well as
treatment and education strategies for the practicing surgeon.
As RAS-ACS Chair, it has been both an honor and a privilege
to work with these young minds and to help enhance their
efforts to lead the House of Surgery in the future. ♦
1. American Pain Society Quality of Care
Committee. Quality improvement guidelines for
the treatment of acute pain and cancer pain. JAMA.
2. Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare
Organizations. Pain Standards 2001. Available at:
Standards.pdf. Accessed May 30, 2017.
3. Baker DW. History of The Joint Commission’s
pain standards: Lessons for today’s prescription
opioid crisis. JAMA. 2017;317( 11):1117-1118.
4. Florence CS, Zhou C, Luo F, Xu L. The economic
burden of prescription opioid overdose, abuse, and
dependence in the United States, 2013. Med Care.
2016; 54( 10):901-906.
5. Levy B, Paulozzi L, Mack KA, Jones CM. Trends
in opioid analgesic-prescribing rates by specialty,
U. S., 2007–2012. Am J Prev Med. 2015; 49( 3):409-413.
6. Library of Congress. Promoting Responsible
Opioid Prescribing Act of 2016, H. R. 4499, 114th
Congress. 2016. Available at: www.congress.gov/
bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4499. Accessed June
7. American College of Surgeons. American College
of Surgeons launches education program on
opioids and surgery: Use, abuse, and alternatives.
News release. 2016. Available at: facs.org/media/
press-releases/2016/opioids103116. Accessed May