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Letter to the Editor: Doctors offer further suggestions to prevent prescription drug abuse

We applaud Gov. Doug Ducey’s commitment to combat drug abuse and misuse in Arizona.  His creation of a team to address addiction of all drugs and his acknowledgement of the abuse of opioids and heroin in our population is welcome.  As prescribers of opioids for patients dealing with pain, we offer additional suggestions for dealing with this issue, that we believe will allow those needing these important prescriptions to access them while preventing abuse and addiction.

Tackle doctor and pharmacy shopping by further optimizing the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (e.g., real-time data, interstate data sharing, integration with provider workflow, notification systems).

Reduce paper prescription fraud by promoting electronic prescribing of controlled substances (“EPCS”).

Ensure health plan policies support patient access and limit barriers to safer pain medicines, such as non-opioids and abuse-deterrent opioids (ADOs).

Expand AZ HB2489, which allows first responders access to the lifesaving overdose drug (naloxone) to include family members.

We stand ready to support the governor and his team in the effort to stop abuse while providing treatment to those in pain.

—   J. Julian Grove, MD, is president of the Arizona Pain Society. Patrick Hogan, DO, is president of the Arizona Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. Jonathan Carlson, MD, is vice president of the Arizona Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.

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