John Maszinski
Office: 312-580-6440
Illinois Doctors Announce Comprehensive Proposal to Prevent Narcotic Misuse
New report offers roadmap for safe opioid prescribing and an effective abuse prevention strategy

Chicago, IL - The Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) released a comprehensive plan today to address the misuse and abuse of powerful opioid prescription medications. Due to their high potential for addiction, opioids are classified as Schedule II drugs. ISMS developed the report, Recommendations for Deterring Improper Use of Opioids , for the Illinois House Task Force on the Heroin Crisis, chaired by House Democratic Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie), as a framework for Illinois legislation. 

Illinois physicians suggest taking a pro-active approach to maintain our state's good standing in the appropriate prescribing of opioid medications. Illinois' low rate of oxycodone prescribing exemplifies physicians' cautious use of a powerful medication. Of the total oxycodone prescriptions issued nationwide in 2013, Illinois had a per capita use of only .05, ranking 50th in the United States. By contrast, Tennessee had over six times as much utilization of oxycodone per capita, ranking at third in the nation with a .31 utilization rate per capita.

"Opioid medications such as oxycodone are important tools for providing pain relief to patients.  However, it is clear that this drug category may be misused and abused" said ISMS President, William A. McDade, MD, PhD.  "Illinois already has a strong regulatory foundation that helps prescribers obtain information to prevent opioid abuse and protect patients. Even so, further changes are needed to curb opioid addiction, which may cause patients to seek out illegal drugs, such as heroin. Physicians, other prescribers, patients and pharmacies all have a stake in supporting safe prescribing practices. We can and will do more."

The ISMS proposal includes multiple components, among them:

  • Expanding and strengthening Illinois' Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), a statewide data base that prescribers can check to prevent "doctor shopping."
    • The PMP is a valuable resource for prescribers to identify patients seeking medication for illicit use. ISMS has identified several strategies to expand the PMP's use and effectiveness.
  • Presenting new opportunities for continuing medical education for opioid prescribers.
    • ISMS supports increasing prescribers' access to educational opportunities and information by developing the PMP as a vehicle for sharing such material.
  • Increasing access to naloxone, a medication used to counteract opioid and heroin overdose.
    • Several Illinois communities have initiated programs to promote naloxone availability; however, it is not readily available without prescription in most areas. Illinois must make naloxone more accessible to law enforcement, family members of at-risk patients and other first responders.
  • Promoting safe medication disposal sites.
    • Opioid abusers commonly obtain medication from a friend or family member's medicine cabinet. Expanding patient education and options for medication disposal will help keep addictive medications out of abusers' hands.
  • Accessing federal grant support to expand the PMP, access to naloxone, and medication disposal sites.

Dr. McDade added, "Illinois dispenses Schedule II medications, which include opioids at lower rates than almost every other state. However, we know there is much more to be done to ensure appropriate use of opioids and make lifesaving tools such as naloxone more readily available. Physicians want to lead this effort and keep our patients safe. We urge members of the General Assembly to adopt the strategies outlined in our proposal."


Copies of the report are available at . To request a print copy or arrange an interview, call 312-580-6440 or email .


Founded in 1840, ISMS is a professional membership association representing Illinois physicians in all medical specialties, and their patients, statewide. Dr. McDade is a Chicago anesthesiologist.

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