Eluting the drugs in the opioid crisis will require more than the billions in new federal funding to be used, according to the chief medical officer of the American College of Surgeons.
In a speech Monday at the American Medical Association’s annual meeting, Dr. Donald R. Brown said there is no single solution to the epidemic.
“The solution that we are looking at is more collaboration, more collaboration with our doctors, our other doctors, and with our communities, to understand what the underlying pathology is,” Brown said.
“We’re not looking at one drug or one drug combination that we have to throw away.
We’re looking at the whole spectrum.”
Brown said the nation’s opioid addiction crisis is “a multi-faceted problem” that includes drug abuse, opioid addiction, the opioid epidemic itself and a failure to identify and treat the underlying medical conditions.
He said the opioid shortage in the United States has created an enormous strain on healthcare providers, particularly those that treat people with chronic conditions like chronic pain and heart disease.
The country has seen a spike in overdose deaths, including one last week that killed three people, Brown said, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If we are to get out of this crisis and have a chance of a better recovery, we need to do better in our partnership with doctors and other healthcare professionals,” he said.
Brown said opioids are the main cause of the epidemic, but he said they also have a role to play in other conditions, including obesity, hypertension and high blood pressure.
He also said the United Kingdom’s decision to phase out the use of OxyContin, a popular opioid painkiller, was not enough.
“We need to get better at identifying these issues before they become an epidemic,” he told the APA.
“As we have learned, there is a continuum of drug use.
This is a prescription drug.
This isn’t heroin.
This drug has a place in our medicine cabinet,” Brown added.