On August 8, 2017, the Florida Society of Anesthesiologists participated in an emergency roundtable conference in Palm Beach County to discuss that county’s response to the opioid addiction epidemic. Local government officials, state senators and representatives, hospital executives, leaders of emergency medical services and other community leaders and activists engaged in a 2+ hour discussion in front of an audience of approximately 100 members of the general public, exploring ideas and potential solutions to this devastating epidemic.
The FSA was the only physician organization represented at the round table by virtue of their public leadership in the State and their proposed initiatives aimed at ameliorating the societal costs of the opioid crisis.
The FSA’s proposed plan of action focuses on education – training and awareness campaigns to all parties affected by this crisis: educating patients having surgery about the need to limit the duration of their opioid use; training on the proper disposal of unused amounts of opioids to decrease risk of addiction, diversion, and accidental ingestion by children; promoting physician education regarding appropriate prescribing practices for opioids in the form of mandatory, ongoing CME requirements for licensure; counseling pregnant women regarding the devastating effects of giving birth to opioid addicted babies, and finally, early middle school formal education regarding the harmful effects of opioids and addiction.
With a proven track record of advocacy for patients and patient safety in the state of Florida, the FSA is well positioned to contribute to the solution for what has become one of our nation’s most significant health problems.