August 6, 2013 – Washington, D.C. – Today DCBA Law & Policy announced the publication of “The Best of Both Worlds: Applying Federal Commerce and State Police Powers To Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse“ in the newest issue of University of Maryland Journal of Health Care Law and Policy. The article is the culmination of careful research by Michael C. Barnes, managing attorney at DCBA Law & Policy, and Gretchen Arndt, J.D., a 2013 graduate of George Mason University School of Law.
Focusing on the prescription drug abuse epidemic, the article uncovers that many physicians have not received training on the potential consequences of improperly prescribing powerful controlled substances. Federal and state lawmakers, however, have the authority to change requirements so that mandatory controlled substance education is the norm.
“With the number of prescription drug-related deaths climbing every year, voluntary prescriber education on controlled substances is not enough to prevent improper prescribing,” said Stacey L. Sklaver, an associate attorney at DCBA Law & Policy.
The authors recommend amending the Controlled Substances Act to require 16 hours of training every three years for practitioners who prescribe controlled substances.
Currently, mandatory state programs to educate prescribers about controlled substances are uncommon. Ahead of the curve, New Mexico currently requires five hours of continuing education every year on the risks surrounding the improper prescribing of controlled substances.
The costs of the prescription drug epidemic loom large in America, necessitating direct and immediate action. Economically, the abuse of opioid pain relievers costs health insurers $72.5 billion annually in direct healthcare costs. The human costs are still higher: More than 16,500 Americans die from opioid-related overdoses each year.
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