Point/counterpoint debate takes aim at the opioid epidemic


Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

New Rochelle, NY, April 11, 2017 –Two experts with opposing views squared off on the hotly debated topic of how best to control the exploding opioid epidemic in the U.S.- with increasing regulation of physician prescribing practices or by better educating patients and doctors. The fascinating and informative discussion is published in a Point/Counterpoint article in the peer-reviewed, open access journal Healthcare Transformation from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available open access on the Healthcare Transformation website.

In the article entitled "Point/Counterpoint: Opioid Abuse in the United States," Moderator Antonia Chen, MD, MBA, Associate Editor of Healthcare Transformation, led a lively, straight-talking conversation between Jane C. Ballantyne, MD, University of Washington, Seattle, who advocates for the appropriate use of opioids and education for physicians and patients, and Meghna Patel, MHA, Director of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Office in the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Harrisburg, who has implemented key state regulations aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic.

Dr. Chen challenged the discussants with questions such as "How do we fix the opioid epidemic?" and "What is the role of regulation for physicians?" Dr. Chen asked, "What is the best way to educate patients and doctors?" and "What is the role of other alternative medications [such as marijuana and other prescription drugs]?"

In Dr. Ballantyne's view, people taking opioids tend to think there is no alternative. "But the more we look at this, the more we realize that people who tend to succeed in getting off opiates altogether often feel a lot better, and patients who never go down the opiate pathway usually have much better outcomes in terms of their function and even pain."

Ms. Patel stated, "I think that the total avoidance of prescription opioids is not an ethical option. If a patient is in chronic pain, then the patient may need a prescription opioid and whatever the physician thinks is best for the patient."

"We need to transform how we think about pain," says Healthcare Transformation Editor-in-Chief Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, President, Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) and CEO Jefferson Health (Philadelphia, PA). "In Philadelphia, we're seeing the opioid addiction epidemic in our emergency department every day."


About the Journal

Healthcare Transformation, the breakthrough peer-reviewed, open access journal spearheaded by Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, President, Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) and CEO Jefferson Health (Philadelphia, PA), delivers the foremost research in re-imagining healthcare delivery, education, technology, innovation, and discovery. The Journal serves as a forum to present visions of the future, debate current models, and provide an invaluable source of optimism for everyone involved in healthcare and the transformation of healthcare. Presented through notable research articles, perspectives, commentaries, Letters to the Editor, interviews, and point/counterpoint debates, the Journal pushes the boundaries of existing thinking to transform the future of healthcare frameworks, networks, and officialdoms. Complete content is available on the Healthcare Transformation website. Dr. Klasko is the author of We CAN Fix Healthcare: The Future is NOW, the trailblazing book that offers extraordinary solutions to our greatest healthcare dilemmas, from education to insurance to disparities.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative medical and biomedical peer-reviewed journals, including Population Health Management; Telemedicine and eHealth; Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking; Big Data; and Games for Health Journal. A complete list of the firm's more than 80 journals, newsmagazines, and books is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. website.

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