Attorney General Aaron Ford Joins 38 States Expressing Concern Regarding Health and Human Services Pain Management Draft Report

April 1, 2019

Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford announced that his office joined a coalition of 38 attorneys general in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sharing concerns about the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Draft Report (Draft Report). The letter is addressed to Dr. Vanila Singh, chief medical officer for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.

    As it stands, the Draft Report deviates from guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which are aimed at decreasing the risk of opioid misuse. The report suggests providers can rely solely on their judgement instead of consulting evidence-based recommendations. By doing so, it weakens recommendations for opioid prescription duration and dosage.

      “Too many Nevadans have witnessed the devastating effect that unfettered opioid manufacturing, distribution and prescription has had on our communities,” said AG Ford. “With this letter, I’m expressing our collective concern that the well-established risks associated with higher doses of opioids, prescriptions of longer duration, and concurrent prescriptions of opioids demand continued constraints.”

        The letter includes several other concerns, including that HHS does not provide a reason for departing from evidence-based CDC guidelines and does not explicitly state that there is no completely safe opioid dosage. The attorneys general explain that moving away from the CDC Guideline at this critical time would undermine ongoing legislative initiatives, as well as refinements to standards of medical care. As a matter of public safety, there is simply no justification to move away from the CDC Guideline to encourage more liberal use of an ineffective treatment that causes nearly 50,000 deaths annually.”

          In addition to Nevada, the attorneys general of the following states and territories have signed onto this letter: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

            The letter is attached.