(HealthDay News) – Recommendations to effectively address the problem of prescription drug abuse are presented in a policy position paper from the American College of Physicians (ACP), published online Dec. 10 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Noting that inappropriate use and abuse of prescription drugs is a serious public health problem, Neil Kirschner, PhD, along with colleagues from the Health and Public Policy Committee of the ACP, reviewed the literature and developed a position paper to provide guidance for prescribers and policymakers.

The authors presented 10 relevant recommendations. They note that the ACP supports appropriate and effective efforts to reduce all substance use, including educational, prevention, diagnostic, and treatment efforts, as well as medical research on addiction. A comprehensive national policy is recommended, including education, monitoring, proper disposal, and enforcement elements. Physicians should consider the full range of available therapies for the effective treatment and management of pain. A national Prescription Drug Monitoring Program should be established; state programs should be standardized through a federal program until a national program is implemented. Efforts to educate physicians, patients, and the public on appropriate prescribing are encouraged.

“These recommendations offered by the College aim to form a framework for patients to receive the care they require while effectively accounting for the problems associated with the use of prescription drugs – specifically, those with a significant potential for abuse,” the authors write.

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