National Safety Council Calls on DEA to Require Education for Opioid Painkiller Prescribers

National Safety Council Calls on DEA to Require Education for Opioid Painkiller Prescribers

Highly addictive medicines are overprescribed

​Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council is calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration to require education and additional training for medical practitioners who prescribe opioid painkillers. The Council urges DEA to make education and training a part of initial and subsequent registration under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

"The most fatally abused drug today is legal and sitting in our medicine cabinets," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "DEA has been on the front lines of the fight to end this epidemic, and we applaud its efforts. We urge DEA to take another critical step by requiring prescriber education and training to prevent overprescribing and save lives."

Opioid painkillers such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin lead to more fatal drug overdoses than heroin and cocaine combined.[i] The rise in fatal opioid painkiller overdoses has paralleled the increase in prescriptions, with more than 259 million prescriptions written in 2012.[ii] Yet the U.S. has not seen a decrease in the overall number of people reporting pain,[iii] and studies show these medicines are not always the best method for reducing acute pain.[iv]  

The Council proposes that the mandatory education and training curricula include:

  • Relative effectiveness and risks of opioid painkillers
  • Responsible prescribing, including the use of tools such as state prescription drug monitoring programs – databases that track prescribing history
  • Linkage to treatment for those with addiction

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About the National Safety Council

Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council,, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.


[i] According to Injury Facts 2015
[ii] According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
[iii] NSC white paper, Evidence for the efficacy of pain medications
[iv] NSC white paper, Evidence for the efficacy of pain medications

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