Michigan Tapped by National Governor's Association to Focus on Reducing Prescription Drug Abuse; LARA, MDCH to partner on improving state's pain management

Contact: Melanie Brown 517-373-9280
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

September 24, 2014 - As Michigan is named one of six states to develop an action plan to combat the abuse of prescription drugs nationally, directors of the Michigan Departments of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and Community Health (MDCH) today announced their partnership toward effective pain management for Michigan citizens.

LARA Acting Director Mike Zimmer and MDCH Director Nick Lyon today were presented with 2014 recommendations outlined in “The ‘State’ of Pain in Michigan” report prepared by Gov. Rick Snyder’s Advisory Committee on Pain and Symptom Management (ACPSM).

“I look forward to our joint effort in working with healthcare providers and pharmacists to improve the quality of life of our citizens through effective pain management,” said Zimmer. “I commend the ACPSM for their tremendous effort in developing a core curriculum on pain for Michigan’s medical schools and other health professional schools.”

The ACPSM’s report indicates that Michigan continues to be the top among states enacting policies promoting delivery of effective pain management and continues to receive an “A” grade in the quality of its legislation and regulatory policies that positively influence patient pain care.

A key finding of the report was that 36 percent of drug overdose decedents (unintentional or undetermined intent) had at least one prescription filled within a year prior to death and had five or more prescribers per year. A primary goal of the ACPSM was to outline ways of reducing the incidence of overdose for individuals who had five or more prescribers per year.

To better address this and other findings, and relieve the daily chronic pain that up to 3 million Michigan citizens endure every day, the ACPSM recommends implementation of several best practices through the joint effort of LARA and MDCH, including: 

  • Advancement of the use of the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) among healthcare providers and pharmacists; establish emergency room connection with MAPS; develop thresholds for prescribing and dispensing of pain medication; and develop triggers for further evaluation of the prescriber when thresholds are exceeded.
  • Adoption of the ACPSM Model Core Curriculum on Pain Management for Michigan medical schools and promotion of its use in schools of Pharmacy, Nursing, Dental and Allied Health to ensure comprehensive, consistent pain education in all of Michigan’s medical schools as an approach to foster a more safe and effective treatment of pain.  
  • Advocacy of physician best prescribing practices for safe and effective treatment of Michigan residents' pain balancing the need to relieve symptoms, improve function and assure safety.

“The thoughtful recommendations presented by ACPSM today will take Michigan even further in our effort to reduce prescription drug abuse and improve effective pain management in our communities,” said Lyon. “These recommendations are a nice compliment to the National Governors Association’s Policy Academy that Michigan was recently selected to participate in.”

LARA’s Pain Management and Palliative Care Program supports the use of MAPS at www.michigan.gov/mimapsinfo, which is the prescription monitoring program for the State of Michigan. MAPS has proven to be effective for ensuring the safety of patients using prescription pain medication.

The ACPSM, a multidisciplinary committee of health professionals, is charged with studying the state of pain in Michigan and making recommendations to LARA and MDCH with the goal of providing good pain management for Michigan citizens in balance with the goal of reducing the misuse of prescription medications. The ACPSM Model Pain Curriculum, which covers a variety of treatment methods, is posted on LARA’s pain management website at www.michigan.gov/pm. Gov. Snyder has declared September as Pain Awareness Month, as pain affects more Michigan citizens and Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.

Michigan, along with Minnesota, North Carolina and Wisconsin, will participate in the second round of the National Governors Association’s (NGA) Prescription Drug Abuse Project. The selected states will join Nevada and Vermont in developing comprehensive, evidence-based action plans to combat the abuse of prescription drugs, the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States.

For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara
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