The 2016 and 2022 CDC opioid prescribing guidelines were based on the assertion that doctor over-prescribing to patients has been a major cause of opioid use disorder and overdose-related deaths. Published data from the CDC and other sources reveals that this assertion was incorrect – and the CDC knew it was incorrect when it published its guidelines.
2016 CDC Guidelines
Cato Institute Senior Fellow Dr. Jeffrey Singer (also a member of the ACSH Scientific Advisory Board) has written a powerful piece about the inability of policymakers to realize that their plan to reduce drug overdose deaths is wrong on every level.
Upon first glance, the revision of the atrocious 2016 CDC opioid prescribing guidelines would seem to be an improvement – a low bar by any measure. But it doesn't take long to see that the 2022 version still leaves much to be desired.
Although the 2022 revision of the 2016 CDC Opioid Prescribing Advice is an improvement over the original document, it still refers to Morphine Milligram Equivalents (MME) as a guide to physicians. Unfortunately, this number does not accurately reflect the relative strength of opioid painkillers. Dr. Jeff Singer and I explain why in a new op-ed in the NY Daily News.
The CDC's 2022 revisions of the deeply flawed 2016 Prescribing Advice contains some welcome changes that should reduce the needless suffering of pain patients. Unfortunately, the new document does not go far enough. My comments will be officially submitted to the CDC during the public comment period.
The CDC 2016 Opioid Prescribing Advice, which has caused so much hardship to so many pain patients, has been tossed out and replaced by a revised document. Is it better? Sure looks that way.
Last year the American Medical Association directly challenged the CDC's disastrous Guidance for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, which was issued in 2016. Not surprisingly, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), a group that was (for some mysterious reason) directly involved with the CDC, responded defensively. Here are my comments on PROP's disingenuous rebuttal.
The FDA has at this time received 79 comments for its "Morphine Milligram Equivalents: Current Applications and Knowledge Gaps, Research Opportunities, and Future Directions; Public Workshop." Here is the 80th.
ACSH advisor and pain patient advocate Red Lawhern has been at the forefront of efforts to undo the damage done by the 2016 CDC Advice on Opioid Prescribing. He wants the abomination thrown out and has spent countless hours trying to reason with the CDC (and others). Here is the result of his hard work.
It's time for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to withdraw this page to correct its many errors and distortions. A principal author of the 2016 CDC Guidelines on the prescription of opioids to adults with chronic pain is responsible for many of these errors. Richard Lawhern (pictured) addressed these mistakes in this open letter.