Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
Jason S. Miyares
202 North 9th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
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Attorney General Miyares Urges CDC to Address the Opioid Epidemic
~ Attorney General Miyares joined ten other states in expressing concern over the CDC's proposed opioid prescription guidelines ~
RICHMOND, VA – As a part of the ongoing fight against the opioid epidemic, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares announced today that he joined 10 other States in a letter urging the CDC to address the danger of diverted drugs as it writes new guidelines on opioid prescriptions.
Diverted drugs are drugs that are sold legally but come into the possession of users without a prescription. A common example would be an individual taking leftover drugs from a friend or family member that was prescribed opioids due to a recent surgery. Diverted drugs play a massive role in the opioid epidemic. One study found, for example, that, in 2016, 71% of Americans who abused opioids received their drugs through diversion.
"The opioid epidemic has touched the lives of Virginians in every corner of the Commonwealth. To defeat and prevent it, we must address each way individuals can fall into addiction. Diverted drugs are a low risk and convenient way individuals access opioids. I've joined 10 other Attorneys General in asking the CDC to recommend preventative measures physicians could use to prevent opioids falling into the wrong hands,” said Attorney General Miyares.
The Attorneys General suggest:
- Opioids should not be considered as a first line treatment.
- The CDC should recommend that prescribers administer toxicology tests for patients with long-term opioid prescriptions.
- These tests would help to prevent overdoses and identify patients that are not taking their medication, risking diversion.
- The CDC concedes these tests are inexpensive.
- These tests could be recommended in areas where the opioid crisis, and therefore the risk of diversion, is particularly severe.
- In addition to recommending physicians prescribe the "lowest effective dosage,” the guidelines should consider the physical quantity of pills prescribed.
- Previous guidelines issued in 2016 explicitly recommended time limits on opioid use for the treatment of acute pain.
Read the letter HERE.