ASAM Applauds HHS and CDC for Guidelines on Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

by Bob Davis | March 15, 2016


CHEVY CHASE, MD, MARCH 15, 2016 – The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) applauds the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for issuing new recommendations for prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain, excluding cancer, palliative and end-of-life care. The CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain will help primary care providers ensure effective treatment for their patients.

It has been well documented that the 300% increase in the sales of prescription opioid medications since 1999 is associated with a fourfold increase in deaths from prescription opioid medications since that same year. Yet while the rate of prescribing opioid medications has quadrupled in the U.S., there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report. This has had the unintended, but grave, consequences of prescription opioid misuse, abuse and overdose death.

“It is clear that the current practice of prescribing opioid medications is a significant contributing factor to the opioid epidemic, causing drug overdoses to surpass traffic fatalities as the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S.” said ASAM President Dr. Jeffrey Goldsmith. “Reversing the deadly trends of the opioid epidemic can only be helped by safer prescribing practices by health providers treating chronic pain. ASAM looks forward to working with HHS and CDC to continue to improve the practice of prescribing opioid medications.”

CDC developed user-friendly resources to make the guideline easy for providers and patients to understand and use. The materials that are available for download include information for patients and tools to help providers implement the recommendations, such as a decision checklist. The CDC guideline resources are available online.

Contact: Bob Davis 301-547-4112, email:


The American Society of Addiction Medicine is a national medical specialty society of more than 3,700 physicians and associated professionals. Its mission is to increase access to and improve the quality of addiction treatment, to educate physicians, and other health care providers and the public, to support research and prevention, to promote the appropriate role of the physician in the care of patients with addictive disorders, and to establish Addiction Medicine as a specialty recognized by professional organizations, governments, physicians, purchasers and consumers of health care services and the general public. ASAM was founded in 1954, and has had a seat in the American Medical Association House of Delegates since 1988.

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