Virginia Emergency Physicians Take a Stand to Address Opioid Crisis; Empower Physicians

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VA-AAEM is addressing the current misuse of prescription pain medications and empowering emergency physicians to provide the most appropriate, safest medical care to patients.

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We the VA-AAEM pledge to address pain in an ethical, safe, and appropriate clinical fashion with special attention to the individual patient’s needs.

The Virginia Chapter Division of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (VA-AAEM) is taking steps to address the current misuse of prescription pain medications and empower emergency physicians to provide the most appropriate, safest medical care to patients.

Our Concerns
Misuse of prescription pain medications can lead to subsequent adverse health consequences, including substance addiction, chronic medical conditions, and death. VA-AAEM stands by emergency physicians to address pain, appropriately and correctly, using their medical training and clinical judgment. Pain management is one significant area of medical care and an issue of importance not only for our patients but also for physicians.

VA-AAEM president, Matt Rhames, MD FAAEM, states that:
"We as emergency physicians realize we are but one link in a much larger series of events that can perpetuate opiate pain medication addiction in patients. Yet, by recognizing that, we Virginia emergency physicians will do our best to disrupt this chain of addiction whenever possible … any chain may be broken by removing a single link. We the VA-AAEM pledge to address pain in an ethical, safe, and appropriate clinical fashion with special attention to the individual patient’s needs. Importantly, we will not recognize pain as a vital sign nor have treatment dictated to us by entities uninvolved in our patients’ management.”

Our Plan
VA-AAEM has been actively involved in the Virginia Healthcare and Hospital Association Task Force focused on reducing the number of controlled substance prescriptions written by providers who work in and with many hospital organizations around Virginia. The task force will release an opioid prescription position statement to help inform the conversation around the epidemic and recognize the vital role of physicians’ decision to write, or withhold a prescription.

VA-AAEM also put forth a Narcotics Prescription Petition as a public gesture to let the citizens of Virginia and its legislators know the commitment to addressing this epidemic in our state, and VA-AAEM will do its part to help physicians to stop the abuse.

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The American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) is the specialty society in emergency medicine today. As an organization, AAEM believes achievement of board certification represents the only acceptable method of attaining recognition as a specialist in emergency medicine. For more information, please visit http://www.aaem.org or call 800-884-2236.

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