MMS Applauds Call to Action on Opioids by Nation’s Governors and Physicians

Contact:
Richard P. Gulla
(781) 434-7101
rgulla@mms.org

Waltham, Mass. – Feb. 20, 2016 – The president of the Massachusetts Medical Society today applauded the National Governors Association and the American Medical Association for their joint statement in calling for united action to end the epidemic of opioid abuse. 

“This joint statement by the governors and the nation’s largest physicians’ group,” said Dennis M. Dimitri, M.D., president of the Massachusetts Medical Society,”demonstrates the intense effort on the part of both parties toward ending this epidemic. It calls for collaboration between physicians and public officials, and describes agreement on the strategies needed to fight the epidemic. It is a statement with both symbolism and substance.”

Dr. Dimitri noted that many of the strategies outlined in this joint call to action have already been implemented in the Commonwealth with leadership by both the MMS and state officials. These include robust improvement in the state’s prescription monitoring program, promulgation of prescribing guidelines for physicians, educating physicians in pain management, educating patients about the risks of these medications and their proper storage and disposal, and recognition of addiction as a disease rather than a crime with prioritization of treatment.

“Physicians in Massachusetts began working with state officials on this issue nearly a year ago,” Dr. Dimitri said, “and we realize that more can and will be done.  The opioid epidemic remains the Medical society’s top priority, and we will continue our efforts to curb any excessive prescribing and to eliminate overdoses and deaths, while at the same time ensuring that those patients with acute and chronic pain are able to get the relief they need.”

The medical society has been in the forefront of battling the opioid epidemic, creating programs on its own and working with Governor Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel in developing strategies and responses to the crisis. It was one of the first health organizations to issue prescribing guidelines for health care providers, has reached out to both physicians and patients to educate them about the risks of pain medications as well as the proper storage and disposal of those medications, worked with Commissioner Bharel and the deans of the medical schools in developing curriculum for medical students, and raised public awareness about opioid abuse through public forums and the media. 


The Massachusetts Medical Society, with some 25,000 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The Society, under the auspices of NEJM Group, publishes the New England Journal of Medicine, a leading global medical journal and web site, and Journal Watch alerts and newsletters covering 13 specialties. The Society is also a leader in continuing medical education providing accredited and certified activities across the globe for physicians and other health care professionals. Founded in 1781, MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country. 

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