It is no secret that families, first responders and law enforcement bear the brunt of the ongoing opioid addiction crisis. But the epidemic begins and ends at a policy level.
It would make sense to have a policy that reflects patients’ needs, empowers their doctors and does everything possible to minimize the risk of substance abuse. But that is not what current policy does.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently has in place a Guideline for Prescribing Opioids and Pain Management that instead of giving providers a full range of options for their patients, encourages the prescription of Schedule II opioids at the start of pain management treatment. In 2018, Wyoming providers wrote 57.1 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons compared to the average U.S. rate of 51.4 prescriptions.
That guideline does a disservice to doctors and the communities they serve. Changing the current CDC guideline is something that must happen immediately if policymakers want to provide patients with the care they need while simultaneously tamping down on the opioid addiction crisis.
Letting doctors pursue diverse treatments for patients, like Schedule III alternatives, can help become a first step in correcting bad policy that has contributed to so much pain and suffering in Wyoming. I urge Senator Enzi to encourage the CDC to update its guideline as soon as possible.
CHAD DORNON, Rock Springs