“Pain management, addiction detection, and effective treatment are significant priorities for the nation’s veterans, and these objectives require better coordination of opioid and benzodiazepine prescribing inside and outside the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).
That’s what the American Psychiatric Association (APA) CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., told the House Veterans Affairs Committee in a written statement about management of chronic pain and addiction to painkillers among veterans. The statement was in response to a House hearing titled “Between Peril and Promise: Facing the Dangers of VA’s Skyrocketing Use of Prescription Painkillers to Treat Veterans.”
Levin focused on veterans and the returning military population, but noted that issues such as medication diversion, medication seeking, improper prescribing, inadequate informatics on prescription utilization, and the need for better pain management and utilization of medical options to assist with substance use disorders are prevalent for the United States population as a whole.
He outlined four overarching recommendations: the use of prescription drug management plans (PDMPs) and the need for coordination between the (VHA’s PDMP and state-based plans, the need to recruit and retain more psychiatrists within the VHA, training the VHA workforce in evidence-based pain management and addiction treatment, and the need for new research on pain medications.”
Source: PsychiatryOnline.org – September 19, 2013