Physicians Group Calls on Congress for Greater Funding to Curb Prescription Drug Abuse

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Reauthorized NASPER Program Aims to Provide Interconnectivity among Physicians in all 50 states to Prevent Dangerous Practice of “Doctor Shopping”

We owe it to our families to make reauthorization and full funding of this program a top priority. Prescription-drug abuse is a problem that affects all corners of America equally.

The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP), a physicians group dedicated to the promotion and development of Interventional Pain Management techniques, is urging congressional representatives to reauthorize National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER), a $55 million legislative initiative that would provide additional funding for state controlled-substance monitoring programs.

First signed into law in 2005, the original NASPER bill received only approximately 10 percent of the $45 million initially legislated. A reauthorization of NASPER would help to prevent widespread prescription-drug abuse, a problem that is far greater than heroin, cocaine and ecstasy-use combined. It will also help ensure that legitimate pain patients have access to appropriate pain medications.

From a cost/benefit analysis, the modest price of the program is offset by projected savings in pharmaceutical costs in the Medicaid and Medicare programs. ASIPP members estimate that the savings would pay for the program in less than a year, with some estimates suggesting as much as a ten-fold return during the first year alone.

More than 50 million Americans -- about one in six -- have admitted to abusing prescription drugs, according to a recent CBS Evening News report. Hundreds of million and possibly billions of dollars are spent on this illegal activity through fraudulent charges to Medicaid and Medicare from doctor shopping. “Dr. Shopping” is when someone visits numerous doctors, often in different states, in order to obtain large amounts of prescription medication.

“It is finally time to address this epidemic head-on and take steps that will stop patients from illegally obtaining prescription drugs,” said Dr. Laxmaiah Manchikanti, Founder, Chairman of the Board and CEO of ASIPP. “We owe it to our families to make reauthorization and full funding of this program a top priority. Prescription-drug abuse is a problem that affects all corners of America equally.”

Since 1999, abuse, misuse and overdose of prescription drugs have increased significantly. Last year, more than 20,000 people in the United States died from drug overdose.

To further prevent misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, ASIPP is supporting the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s first-ever nationwide “Take-Back” initiative. On Saturday, September 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., local law enforcement agencies will be setting up collection sites in local communities nationwide. Americans are encouraged to dispose of any old or unwanted medications through this free, safe and anonymous program.

About The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians
ASIPP’s mission statement is to promote the development and practice of safe, high quality, cost-effective interventional pain management techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of pain and related disorders, and to ensure patient access to these interventions. Founded in 1998 by Chairman of the Board and CEO Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD, ASIPP is a rapidly growing not-for-profit organization that supports the access to interventional techniques and the needs of physicians who practice accountable Interventional Pain Management across the country.

Since its inception, the organization has had substantial impact on the practice of interventional pain management, resulting in an impressive list of major achievements. In 2005, ASIPP succeeded in passing The National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (NASPER), which provides and improves patient access to quality care, and protects patients and physicians from the deleterious effects of controlled substance misuse, abuse and trafficking. ASIPP is headquartered in Paducah, KY and currently has 4,500 members. For more information, visit http://www.asipp.org or call 270.554.9412. Ext. 215

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Adam Mazur
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