Opioid discontinuation as an institutional mandate: Questions and answers on why we wrote to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Academic Article


  • On March 6, 2019, a self-designated committee sent a public letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urging the agency to address the widespread misapplication of its 2016 guideline on prescribing opioids. Three hundred and eighteen health care professionals, and three former Directors of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (Drug Czars) signed the letter, as did the parent organization for Substance Abuse Journal, the Association for Multidisciplinary Education and Research on Substance use and Addiction. The letter reflected concern about a wide range of initiatives and policies by payers, quality metric agencies, health care organizations, and other regulators enforced to strongly incentivize or mandate forced opioid dose reductions on long-term opioid recipients who were otherwise stable. In April of 2019, both the United States Food and Drug Administration and the CDC's Director issued statements that could help to reduce ongoing harms resulting from such forced reductions, provided they are taken seriously. This commentary explains the rationale for the original letter, and the optimum course of action now that the CDC has responded.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Substance Abuse  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 16122461
  • Author List

  • Kertesz SG; Satel SL; DeMicco J; Dart RC; Alford DP
  • Start Page

  • 466
  • End Page

  • 468
  • Volume

  • 40
  • Issue

  • 4