Statement of current status
Chronic nonmalignant pain is a health care condition that affects a significant number of Americans
and is associated with significant morbidity. In addition to the physical discomfort, chronic pain causes
significant work absenteeism, family disruption, and impairment of normal activities of daily living,
resulting in secondary depression, social isolation, and low self-esteem among other consequences.
As a result, chronic pain represents a significant public health issue with tremendous economic, social,
and medical costs.
There has been a significant increase in the use of opioid analgesics for pain control. There is a
corresponding growth in the rate of abuse, misuse, and overdose of these drugs.
Through advocacy, collaboration, and education, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
has been and is actively working toward a solution to America’s pain management and opioid abuse
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tasked various stakeholders with developing a risk
evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) to focus on the problem of misuse of long-acting and
extended-release opioids. This process will include continuing medical education (CME) for
prescribers. Congress has also proposed that this CME be made part of a mandatory requirement for
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) certification and prescribing authority.