EMS physicians send FDA letter praising agency's opioid crisis initiative

The letter reiterated support for a thorough, nationwide approach to resolving the systematic issue of opioid abuse

National Association of EMS Physicians

WASHINGTON —  The National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP) submitted a letter today to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., applauding his early prioritization of America’s deadly opioid crisis.

NAEMSP, an association composed of nearly 2,000 highly-trained emergency medical care providers, commended Gottlieb’s creation of the Opioid Policy Steering Committee and the review of medical care provider opioid administration education. The letter also extended an offer to meet with the agency so it may learn from the organization’s first-hand experience with both the opioid epidemic and the ground-floor impact of federal opioid regulations.

NAEMSP is an organization of physicians and other professionals partnering to provide leadership and foster excellence in the subspecialty of EMS medicine. In pursuing its mission to improve out-of-hospital emergency medical care, NAEMSP has also become a leading advocate for legislation such as the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act, which recently passed the House and awaits a vote in the Senate. NAEMSP publishes the peer-reviewed and top-ranked Prehospital Emergency Care journal, as well as a blog and podcast on breaking issues and developments in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) field.

“In addition to partnering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to drive federal legislation that allows EMS to administer controlled substance medications in an appropriate and timely manner, NAEMSP is acutely aware of the growing opioid crisis,” said NAEMSP President, Dr. Brent Myers. “As described in a paper by Faul et. al. recently published in NAEMSP’s journal, Prehospital Emergency Care, the opioid crisis is growing in number and scope; EMS providers are not only more frequently administering the antidote for opioid overdose, naloxone, but they are also administering it in larger doses as more lethal and potent opiates infiltrate the American population.”

The letter reiterated NAEMSP’s support for a thorough, nationwide approach to resolving the systematic issue of opioid abuse, emphasizing the value of combining strategies such as opioid education, controlled substance administration safeguards, and community-based detox and treatment programs.

“Charged with responding to and treating overdoses where and when they occur, EMS providers are the frontline of healthcare for victims of the opioid crisis and uniquely understand the gravity of the epidemic’s effect on the American population.” Dr. Myers continued, “As EMS physicians and care providers, we remain deeply committed to promoting evidence-based medical education of healthcare providers, public service personnel, and the public. We do this to not only emergently save lives, but also to stem the tide of opioid addiction and narcotic overdoses. We readily stand to honor this commitment and assist Commissioner Gottlieb in accomplishing our shared mission.”

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