Senator Markey: New CDC Prescribing Guidelines a Welcome Addition in Fight to Combat the Opioid Crisis

Washington (March 15, 2016) – The day after Massachusetts enacted new sweeping opioid legislation, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today commended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for releasing its long-delayed Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Senator Markey has been a leading voice in the Senate on efforts to combat the prescription drug and heroin crisis. Senator Markey joined Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and other Senators earlier this year in urging the CDC to release its delayed opioid prescribing guidelines. Senator Markey also joined Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and his colleagues in a letter last year to the CDC underscoring the urgent need for opioid prescribing guidelines.

“Just as we need rules of the road to prevent injury and death, we need strong guidelines that can help prevent abuse of and addiction to opioid painkillers,” said Senator Markey. “I commend the CDC for releasing guidelines for opioid prescribers that prioritize using the lowest dose possible and prescribing non-opioid alternatives. The guidelines also outline commonsense steps and solutions such as co-prescribing overdose prevention medication and ongoing and in-depth monitoring of patients who use opioids.


“While these are important measures we need prescribers to take, they are just guidelines and we need requirements to ensure all prescribers of opioid painkillers are educated in safe prescribing practices and the identification of possible substance use disorders. I will continue to work with my Congressional colleagues to pass legislation that ensures all prescribers of opioid pain medication get the education needed to help prevent addiction before it takes any more lives of our friends, families and loved ones.”