January 29, 2016

Manchin Outraged by Study Finding Most Opioid Overdose Patients Continue to Receive Opioid Prescriptions

Study found over 90 percent of patients who have survived an opioid-related overdose continued to receive opioid medications

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released a statement on a recent study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine that found over 90 percent of the 3,000 chronic pain patients included in the study who had survived an opioid related overdose between 2000 and 2012 continued to receive opioid medications from their doctors. The results of the study, conducted by researchers at Boston Medical Center, are alarming considering the prescription drug epidemic in America and the growing rate of opioid overdose deaths.

“I am outraged that after these patients survived an opioid-related overdose, there was so little consideration of the risks of addiction and death that these patients were still being prescribed opioid medications,” Senator Manchin said. “While this may be appropriate for certain patients, this study highlights major flaws in our healthcare system that allow those patients who are either addicted or at risk of addiction to continue to receive these dangerous opioid medications. Our doctors need guidance and education on safe and responsible prescribing methods to ensure that patients who are at a high risk of overdose receive the treatment that they need.”

Senator Manchin believes that this study highlights the need for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) opioid prescribing guidelines, which will provide commonsense guidance to physicians for prescribing opioids to treat chronic pain patients and urge greater consideration of the very real risks of opioid addiction and overdose death.

This week, Senator Manchin urged the CDC to release delayed opioid prescribing guidelines. To read the letter, please click here.

Senator Manchin also introduced the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (S. 1431), which includes a provision to strengthen medical practitioner education by requiring regular training on the treatment and management of opioid-dependent patients, pain management treatment guidelines, and early detection of opioid addiction.