Lifesource Co-Founder Lynn R. Webster, M.D. Receives Inaugural AAPM Presidential Excellence Award for Education

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The American Academy of Pain Medicine initiates award to honor Dr. Webster’s work on the AAPM Safe Opioid Prescribing Initiative.

Our work has only begun. Too many are being harmed from prescription medication and too many patients with chronic pain are being denied access to appropriate treatment.

The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) presented Lynn R. Webster, M.D., co-founder of the nonprofit organization, LifeSource, and medical director of Lifetree Clinical Research, with the AAPM Presidential Excellence Award for Education at AAPM’s 28th Annual Meeting held in Palm Springs, Calif., last week. The award was inaugurated this year to honor an individual who has made major contributions to the education of others about pain medicine. Webster, who is also an officer for AAPM, was recognized for his work on the Safe Opioid Prescribing Initiative which debuted as a two-day educational course for physicians during the AAPM annual meeting.

“I very much appreciate the recognition but feel our work has only begun. Too many are being harmed from prescription medication and too many patients with chronic pain are being denied access to appropriate treatment. My goal is to reverse the national trend of unintentional overdose deaths while advocating for the one of three Americans who experience chronic pain.”

AAPM’s physician leadership rolled out this new education initiative as one way to actively make a difference in addressing the growing death toll from prescription drug deaths. The program is based on clinical research and data in the field of pain medicine that has been effective in minimizing the risks and reducing the number of deaths associated with opioid prescribing for chronic pain by educating family physicians, internists and other primary care clinicians.

The Safe Opioid Prescribing Initiative is based on a successful pilot program that was launched in 2007 in Utah through the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), when a public awareness and provider educational program effectively reversed trends of unintentional drug deaths in the state. Webster worked closely with the UDOH during its pilot program, and that is when he began building the foundation of what is now the AAPM’s Safe Opioid Prescribing curriculum. This curriculum uses the experts in pain and the science of prescribing to help inform clinicians and ultimately patients and their families how to safely prescribe, use pain medications and to find ways to reverse the trends of overdose, death and diversion.

“After the first year of the 2007 UDOH campaign, the state experienced its largest decreases in prescription drug deaths since 1994,” said Webster, citing the UDOH findings. “These findings were remarkable. I felt we could learn from this program and from all the time and energy we have invested in researching the root causes related to the abuse, misuse, and unintentional deaths related to opioid analgesic use in the treatment of chronic pain. We developed this program to cover all the areas that are important in understanding how to safely prescribe pain medicine, and it is a program that every physician should go through to help them feel comfortable in prescribing opioids when it is appropriate. We had a good start reaching out to physicians at the meeting. Now we need to continue the education process.”

About LifeSource
Dr. Lynn R Webster, M.D., co-founded LifeSource in 2006 to educate physicians, chronic pain sufferers, and all communities about the increasingly serious issue of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription medications; to create an emphasis on educating physicians of appropriate methods in prescribing opioid (narcotic) medications; to conduct the necessary research to find solutions to the problem without compromising access to pain therapy by limiting the availability of these powerful and necessary medications; and to ultimately reach the goal of Zero Unintentional Deaths. For more information, please visit http://www.yourlifesource.org.

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