U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined six of his Senate colleagues in calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to swiftly implement an advisory committee’s recommendations to approve mandatory education and training for prescribers of extended-release and long-acting (ER/LA) opioids, which were praised by the Washington Post’s editorial board.
The senators also asked the FDA to broaden the scope of the agency’s existing risk management strategy to include immediate-release opioids, which account for 91 percent of all opioid prescriptions. Kaine has met with families, health care providers, and law enforcement officers across Virginia impacted by prescription drug and heroin abuse and has pushed for changes at the federal level to end the opioid epidemic that caused more deaths in the Commonwealth than vehicle accidents in 2014.
“[The] lack of prescriber awareness, and more alarmingly, actual prescriber training on opioid abuse, misuse, and addiction is distressing to say the least. In an effort to continue combatting the opioid epidemic, we believe that your agency must make mandatory prescriber training and incorporating immediate-release opioid analgesics central components of an effective risk management strategy,”the Senators wrote. “While this will not cure our nation’s addiction to opioids alone, it is a logical and long advised step in the right direction.”
Joining Kaine in signing the letter are U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal, Dick Durbin, Edward J. Markey, Joe Manchin, Dianne Feinstein and Kirsten Gillibrand.