Pain :: Opioid prescribing at forefront of pain medicine meeting

Opioid therapy, opioid prescribing and prescription drug diversion are provoking topics at the 23rd annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel/Morial Convention Center, Feb. 7-10, 2007.

Opioid treatment is an essential component of pain care for many patients and can be delivered safely and effectively, according to Frederick Burgess, M.D., Ph.D., AAPM president, who estimates that 20 to 60 million Americans live with chronic pain.

Prescription Drug Diversion

A common goal of both physicians and law enforcement is to maintain an appropriate balance between preventing the illegal diversion of drugs while safeguarding the needs of legitimate pain patients, according to the experts speaking at the “Pain Medicine and Law Enforcement: Achieving a Team Approach” session on Friday, Feb. 9, 2007, at 8:30 AM.

“Physicians have nothing to fear from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in their legitimate practice of medicine,” says Mark W. Caverly, who is chief of the liaison and policy section in the DEA Office of Diversion Control. “The DEA’s guiding principle is to prevent the diversion and abuse of pharmaceutical controlled substances without impacting the ability of patients with legitimate need to have full access to pain relief as prescribed by their physician. The DEA’s responsibility is to enforce the law, not dictate the practice of medicine,” concludes Caverly, who will represent the DEA during the Pain Medicine and Law Enforcement session.

Caverly also will discuss the legal standards of prescribing as set forth in the Controlled Substances Act, the proposed rule to allow multiple prescriptions for schedule II controlled substances, and upcoming policy/regulation topics.

In the same session, John Burke, who is president of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, will address prescription drugs of abuse and related diversion scams.

“Knowing what the current drug diversion scams are can help physicians decide who is trying to take advantage of them,” says Burke, commander of the Warren County Drug Task Force in the Cincinnati area of southwest Ohio. “The vast majority of patients are not drug seekers and that is where the balance comes in. We do not want to deprive legitimate patients effective pain relief through legally prescribed medications because of the acts of a relative few.”

“Today, pain medicine specialists are concentrating on the development of the best scientific and clinical protocols for opioid use,” Dr. Burgess comments. Opioid treatment will be addressed at the meeting in a number of scientific sessions, poster presentations and scientific abstracts.

Other Program Highlights:

Thursday, Feb. 8: 8:30-10 a.m.? Cannabinoids ? A New Class of Analgesics 11:15-noon ? Four Decades of Neuromodulation5-6:30 p.m. ? Scientific Poster Session

Friday, Feb. 9: 8:30-10:30 a.m. ? Pain Medicine and Law Enforcement: Achieving a Team Approach11:20-noon ? Medical Conditions for Patients With Pain After Natural Disaster2-3:30 p.m. ? Opioids: Good or Bad?3:45-5 p.m. ? Ethical Medical Practice and Managed Care: An Oxymoron?5-6:30 p.m. ? Scientific Poster Session

Saturday, Feb. 10: 8:30-10:30 a.m. ? Breaking Concepts in Diagnosis and Treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndromes3:45-5 p.m. ? Scientific Abstract Presentations

The 23rd annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine offers a selection of educational opportunities in pain medicine. Approximately 1,000 people are expected to attend the meeting.

“The AAPM annual meeting is a gathering of pain medicine experts from across the country who spend three days together sharing information about the latest research, patient care, and regulatory issues that affect the practice of Pain Medicine,” says Dr. Burgess.

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