February 09, 2016

Senator Warren Urges CDC to Finalize Opioid Prescription Guidelines and to Work with States, Federal Agencies to Tackle Opioid Epidemic

Text of the letter available here (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has sent a letter urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to finalize guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. The Senator also encouraged the CDC to continue to work with states and other federal agencies to tackle the opioid epidemic.

"According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, there were almost 1,100 confirmed cases of unintentional opioid overdose deaths in 2014 - a 65% increase from 2012. This 2014 estimate is the highest ever in Massachusetts.  Opioid abuse is a national concern and warrants swift and immediate action," Senator Warren wrote. She urged the CDC to finalize its guidelines on prescribing opioids for chronic pain as soon as possible, noting that "Prescription painkillers are at the center of this epidemic...Prescribers - specifically those in primary care settings - are truly on the front lines and have the ability to stem the tide of this growing epidemic."

Senator Warren highlighted the CDC's efforts to study this public health crisis and encouraged the agency to work with states and other federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), to collect additional information about opioid abuse and about alternative pain relief options. "Fighting this epidemic will take hard work on the part of federal, state, and local governments, working together with local law enforcement, medical professionals, and members of the community," she wrote.

Read a PDF copy of the letter here.