Last month, the DEA proposed a reduction in the manufacture of controlled substances, making this the third year in a row such reductions were made. In 2017, a 35% reduction was approved, and in 2018, a 5% reduction was approved.
This proposed reduction in manufacturing could lower the amount of opioid pain medications available, and many have been hopeful that this could lessen the impact of the opioid epidemic. While this proposal is still being reviewed, WorkCompCentral, an online news service focused on workers’ comp, published an article that explored this issue. The article examined these proposed reductions against an increase in opioid products approved by the FDA, and an increase in opioid overdose deaths.
Healthesystems’ Chief Medical Officer, Robert Goldberg, MD, FACOEM, was among the experts that WorkCompCentral interviewed for this article. Dr. Goldberg stated that while the reduction may signify a recognition that too many opioids are being manufactured, the prescribing rates remain very high. Opioid quantities could be cut in half, and there would still be enough medication available. Dr. Goldberg commented that efforts should focus on reducing the dosage and duration of opioid prescriptions to better fight the epidemic.