Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The National Academy of Medicine has released a new publication guide to help healthcare professionals battle the U.S. opioid epidemic.
NAM's special publication was developed at the request of the National Governors Association so they can work with clinicians to counter the opioid epidemic.
A recent report found that the opioid epidemic does not discriminate by age or areas of the country as it has impacted nearly all age groups and regions of the country.
The report by FAIR Health, a national, non-profit organization that tracks healthcare costs and health insurance information, showed that from 2007 to 2016, private insurance claim lines for opioid abuse or dependence diagnoses were seen in every age group from 13- to 18-year-olds to people over age 80 in rural areas. In urban areas, opioid diagnoses were seen in every age group from people 13 to 18 to those between 71 and 80 years of age.
The new 30-page publication guides physicians, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, social workers, dentists, pharmacists and first responders on how to handle prescribing an opioid or managing pain in a patient who presents with likely opioid use disorder.
The publication, Pain Management and the Opioid Epidemic: Balancing Societal and Individual Risks of Prescription Opioid Use, urges healthcare providers to prioritize non-opioid strategies when managing chronic pain, follow the five axioms of responsible opioid prescribing, and promote policies that support and grow available scientific evidence.
"This paper speaks in particular to the roles of clinicians, both as primary gatekeepers for the appropriate use of these drugs and as first responders to the consequences of their misuse," J. Michael McGinnis, NAM Leonard D. Schaeffer Executive Officer, said in a press release. "Moreover, the paper serves as a call to action for the nation's clinicians to assume their broader leadership responsibilities and advance the health of the communities in which they live and work."