Call for Action on Forced Opioid Tapering Proposal in Oregon / by Sean Mackey

Yesterday we submitted a letter to Oregon Governor Kate Brown opposing a proposed community-based forced prescription opioid tapering in patients taking long-term prescription opioids. Our letter expresses concerns over a lack of evidence to support reductive policies that center on forced opioid tapering, particularly rapidly and to extremely low doses. We appreciate the Governor’s desire to reduce the impact that opioids have had on her state. However, this current proposal is misguided and has the potential of serious unintended consequences. The American Medical Association in partnership with the Oregon Medical Association also submitted a letter expressing their concerns of this proposed policy and the impact on patients.

The good news is that there are solutions available to help the dual public health crises in pain and opioids facing Oregon and the rest of our nation. A good first step would be to fully implement the HHS National Pain Strategy (NPS). In the NPS, we developed a detailed 17 point strategic plan to better assess and care for our patients with pain.

N.B. I have to thank the wonderful efforts of Andrea Anderson (Executive Director at Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain) and her team, as well as Drs. Stefan Kertesz and Beth Darnall for their help in generating our letter under tight time deadlines.