Most recently, in June the ACS Board of Regents
approved a Statement on the Opioid Abuse Epidemic (see
page 58), which supports the following: the use of fully
functional and interoperable prescription drug monitoring programs; research and training for safe prescribing
practices of opioids and nonopioid analgesics; addressing
issues specific to military veterans; detaching the relationship between provider reimbursement and patient pain
control; and supporting patient safety legislation. With
this statement, the ACS outlines the principles for alleviating the opioid epidemic, and demonstrates that it will
represent the surgeon’s voice in the search for solutions.
A common goal
Other surgical and medical organizations have also developed policies and guidelines with the common goal of
diminishing the opioid epidemic. The American Academy
of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) released statements
in 2015 and 2016, supporting and making recommendations
regarding the CDC’s guideline for Prescribing Opioids for
48, 49 In November 2016, the AANS and the
AAOS both petitioned the 114th U.S. Congress to provide
the maximum funding for the programs designated under
the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.
Through its Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse,
the American Medical Association has been promoting
evidence-based strategies to combat the opioid epidemic.
Advocacy efforts have been led by multidisciplinary pain
management societies like the Academy of Integrative
Pain Management (AIPM), which gathers extensive information on state and federal regulations and advocates for
effective pain policies. Through these organizations, surgeons are educating fellow surgeons and advocating for
policy changes and funding of legislation to reverse the
The future direction of the opioid epidemic depends on
the efforts of individual surgeons, in both the treatment of
patients and the support of evidence-based state and fed-
eral policies. Addressing this nationwide crisis will require
sustained efforts by all stakeholders, including surgeons.
By advocating for evidence-based legislation that addresses
B; Hal Johnson Consulting and Division of Disease
Control and Health Promotion, Florida Department
of Health. Decline in drug overdose deaths after state
policy changes—Florida, 2010–2012. MMWR Morb
Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014; 63( 26):569-574.
34. Liepert AE, Ackerman TL. 2016 state legislative
year in review and a look ahead. Bull Am Coll Surg.
2016; 101( 12): 35-39.
35. U.S. Department of Justice. Drug Enforcement
Administration. Practitioner’s license requirements.
Available at: www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drugreg/
reg_apps/ pract_state_lic_require.htm. Accessed May
36. Massachusetts Medical Society. Fact Sheet: An
act relative to substance use treatment, education
and prevention. Available at: www.massmed.org/
Advocacy/Key-Issues/Opioid-Abuse/Fact-Sheet--An-Act-Relative-to-Substance-Use-Treatment,-Education-and-Prevention/#. WPDUt2f2aUl. Accessed April 13,
37. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Turn the Tide Rx: The Surgeon General’s call to
end the opioid crisis. Available at: turnthetiderx.
org/#letter. Accessed April 13, 2017.
38. DuPage County Health Department. News
release DuPage Narcan Program 2016 Annual
Report. March 13, 2017. Available at: www.
DNP2016AnnualReport. Accessed May 11, 2017.
39. DuPage County Health Department. DuPage Narcan
Program (DNP) Opioid overdose reversals summary.
December 15, 2016. Available at: www.dupagehealth.
Accessed May 11, 2017.
40. Gawande AA. It’s time to adopt electronic
prescriptions for opioids. Ann Surg. 2017;265( 4):693-
41. Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation.
Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network.
Available at: ihpi.umich.edu/our-work/strategic-initiatives/michigan-open. Accessed May 11, 2017.
42. Brummett CM, Waljee JF, Goesling J, et al. New
persistent opioid use after minor and major surgical
procedures in US adults. JAMA Surg. June 21, 2017
[Epub ahead of print].
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