National Association of Attorneys General

National Association of Attorneys General National Association of Attorneys General

State Attorneys General Express Concern Regarding HHS Pain Management Draft Report

For Immediate Release: April 1, 2019

Contact: Allison Gilmore | 202-326-6047 | agilmore@naag.org

Twitter: @NatlAssnAttysGn

Washington, D.C. --- The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sharing concerns about the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Draft Report (Draft Report). The letter was addressed to Dr. Vanila Singh, chief medical officer for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. 

As it stands, the Draft Report deviates from guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which are aimed at decreasing the risk of opioid misuse. The report suggests providers can rely solely on their judgement instead of consulting evidence-based recommendations. By doing so, it weakens recommendations for opioid prescription duration and dosage. 

“As attorneys general, we have witnessed the devastating effect of unfettered opioid manufacturing, distribution and prescribing on our public health, social services and criminal justice systems. The well-established risks associated with higher doses of opioids, prescriptions of longer duration, and concurrent prescriptions of opioids and benzodiazepines demand continued constraints,” reads the NAAG letter signed by 39 state and territory attorneys general. 

The letter includes several other concerns, including that HHS does not provide a reason for departing from evidence-based CDC guidelines and does not explicitly state that there is no completely safe opioid dosage. 

“Moving away from the CDC Guideline at this critical time would undermine ongoing legislative initiatives, as well as refinements to standards of medical care,” the letter continued. “As a matter of public safety, there is simply no justification to move away from the CDC Guideline to encourage more liberal use of an ineffective treatment that causes nearly 50,000 deaths annually.”

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The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) was founded in 1907 to help attorneys general fulfill the responsibilities of their office and to assist in the delivery of high-quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions.

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