by adatompson on December 23, 2015

December 2015

Dear Friends of ARPO,

We had intended on reaching out this week to wish you a peaceful holiday season. Unfortunately, we must ask for your help with an urgent matter. As you may have heard, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had planned to release a guideline calling for more cautious opioid prescribing. CDC’s plan to release this in January was effectively blocked by intense pressure from the opioid lobby, which sees more cautious opioid use as a financial threat.

CDC was pressured into opening a federal docket on its draft guideline. This is highly unusual and will tack months on to the process. Federal dockets are typically opened for public comment on proposed regulations – not on medical guidance issued by the CDC. With the recent news from CDC that deaths from opioid overdoses were up significantly in 2014 (when opioids were involved in 28,647 deaths), the pushback from the opioid industry comes at the worst possible time.

Unless comments are posted to the docket in support of CDC’s effort, there is a chance that the guideline may not be released, and many more lives will be needlessly lost. Your help is urgently needed. Comments from Canadian ARPO members may also be posted to the Docket (not exclusive to Americans!). Please take a few minutes to post a comment on the federal docket in support of the CDC guideline here.
If someone you know was harmed by opioids prescribed for pain, please mention it in your comments. Or if you know of someone who was prescribed an excessive quantity of pills when only a few were needed, that is also good to mention.

Here are some important points to consider including in your comment:

1) The medical community is urgently in need of guidance from CDC because aggressive opioid prescribing is harming pain patients and fueling an epidemic of addiction and overdose deaths.

2) Guidance on duration of opioid use is required. Excessive quantities are frequently prescribed for acute pain, even when less than 3 days of medicine would have been sufficient.

3) Dosing guidance is required because high doses increase risk for overdose death and other adverse effects.

Thank you for responding to this request. Please share this message with others who may also be willing to post comments supporting the CDC’s effort. Please have a peaceful holiday and our sincere hope is that all those in our network who are so acutely affected by the loss of a loved one at this time of year will endure with the meaningfulness of the time spent here on earth with those who we have lost.

Peacefully yours,

The ARPO Board – Pete, Ada, Sandra, Ellen and Kirk

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