Opioid Epidemic Not likely to Slow Any Time Soon

Friday, March 1, 2013

By Lance O. Leider, J.D., The Health Law Firm

According to the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP), Americans consume nearly eighty percent (80%) of the world's opioid supply and ninety-nine percent (99%) of the world's hydrocodone supply. (Click here to see the ASIPP’s fact sheet on prescription drug abuse.)  The scariest part of these numbers is that the United States comprises about five percent (5%) of the world's population.

Food and Drug Administration Could Tighten Controls on Hydrocodone Combination Drugs.

At the end of January 2013, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee voted to recommend moving hydrocodone combination drugs, like Vicodin, to schedule II in order to make them more difficult to prescribe.  Efforts like this mark another step in the path to serious regulatory changes in the way U.S. physicians treat chronic pain.

To read my previous blog on the possible move of hydrocodone combination drugs from schedule III into the more restrictive schedule II category of controlled substances, click here.

Health Care Professional Must Stay Ahead of Patients with Chronic Pain.

As the problems with prescription pain medication abuse grow, state regulatory boards, private certification boards and federal agencies are only going to get tougher.  Many physicians in practice today are eschewing multi-disciplinary approaches to treating chronic pain in favor of monotherapies with narcotic medications.

These physicians do this at their own peril.  In our practice we see many physicians in trouble with state medical boards because of their prescribing practices.  Changes to the standard of care are rapidly coming, and if you treat patients with chronic pain it is imperative that you stay ahead of them. Click here to read a blog on legal tips for health care professionals to manage pain patients.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.
The Health Law Firm routinely represents pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Health (DOH) and other law enforcement agencies. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


As a health care professional, do the numbers discussed in this blog scare you or seem very accurate? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.


Gunter, M.D., Jennifer. “Why the American Problem with Opioids and Chronic Pain is Here to Stay.” Kevin MD.com. (February 22, 2013). From: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2013/02/american-problem-opioids-chronic-pain-stay.html

American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. “The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) Fact Sheet.” From: http://www.asipp.org/documents/ASIPPFactSheet101111.pdf

About the Author: Lance O. Leider is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

Tag Words: Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Health (DOH), American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, hydrocodone, opioid, opioid prescriptions, opioid use, opioid misuse, prescribing restrictions on hydrocodone, schedule III controlled substances, schedule II controlled substances, chronic pain, physician assistants (PAs), nurse practitioner, doctors, physicians, pharmacists, defense attorney, defense lawyer, administrative hearings, license defense counsel

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