What are we doing in Maine to address the opioid crisis?

Maine’s opioid epidemic claimed 272 lives in 2015 and shows no signs of slowing down. We are in a state of crisis, and the Maine legislature and the Maine Department of Health & Human Services have charged clinicians with getting resources and training to provide effective, patient-focused care in challenging circumstances. The independent experts at MICIS are here to help.

MICIS, the Maine Medical Association, and many more groups and individuals are all taking significant steps to address this serious situation:

New Documents Posted by DHHS (June & July, 2017)

The various prescribers’ licensing boards (Medicine, Osteopathy, Nursing, etc.) have a joint rule on the use of opioids, called Chapter 21. It can be found by going to a board website, such as http://www.maine.gov/md/laws-statutes/rules-statutes.html, and clicking on Rules Chapter 21. That rule is about to undergo revision, but the version in the link is currently applicable.

Letter to the Association Membership Explaining Chapter 488

By: Gordon Smith, Esq., Executive Director of the MMA
View PDF of Letter to the Association Membership

In early 2016, the U.S. Attorney for Maine, the Maine Attorney General, and the Maine Commissioner of Public Safety (known collectively as the Maine Opiate Collaborative) created three task forces to study various aspects of the opioid addiction problem. On May 6, 2016 those task forces issued their reports, which include significant recommendations for dealing with the problem:

Education of the prescriber community, including physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, podiatrists and even veterinarians, began well before this was big news in the press. The MMA has presented Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs on the topic. The Maine Independent Clinical Information Service (MICIS), an arm of the MMA, has been delivering free clinical education on opioids and naloxone to Maine’s physicians and nurse practitioners.

As time goes on,and more initiatives are put into place, we will keep you connected to medical resources as they become available. This is a serious public health challenge that the medical community and many others are actively working to solve.

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