KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Lawmakers Examine Ways To Stop Prescription Painkiller Abuse

Lawmakers held a hearing Thursday on what steps the federal government can take to help prevent the abuse of prescription painkillers.

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Rockefeller Convenes Hearing On Prescription Drugs
Medical experts testified Thursday before a congressional subcommittee looking into how the Medicare and Medicaid systems can help prevent and treat prescription drug abuse. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., introduced a bill last year that would promote physician and patient education and create a uniform reporting system for painkiller-related deaths. It also would provide federal funding to help establish and maintain drug monitoring programs that all states can access (3/22).

CQ HealthBeat: Senate Panel Struggles To Get Pain Treatment Right
Witnesses at a Senate hearing Thursday outlined a multipronged approach to addressing the explosive national increase in prescription-painkiller abuse, without reverting to the era in which doctors shied away from administering pain medications. They said that the greater use of health information technology, tighter monitoring of prescribers, better teamwork among doctors and nurses and a new approach for interacting with patients who use a lot of pain medication would help remedy the problem (Reichard, 3/22).

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