Press Room

Nurse Leader Applauds Enactment of Opioid Bill, Calling It a ‘Measure the Country Urgently Needs’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) Board President Anne Hysong, MSN, APRN, CCNS, ACNS-BC, today commended President Trump for signing the Substance Use- Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act into law. Calling opioid misuse a “massive public health emergency that is devastating families and communities,” Hysong praised Congress and the Trump administration for coming together to enact this historic law, which she said is “a measure the country urgently needs.”

“Especially important,” Hysong said, “is Section 303, which expands medication-assisted treatments (MATs) to include clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives and certified registered nurse anesthetists for five years. It also makes permanent the authorization for nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe MATs. More than 2 million Americans have an opioid use disorder, but less than one in five receive appropriate treatment. We are extremely pleased that lawmakers are now harnessing the expertise of advanced practice registered nurses, including clinical nurse specialists, to give more people the treatment and care they need.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that overdoses involving opioids killed more than 42,000 people in 2016. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates 3.3 million Americans aged 12 or over misused prescription pain relievers that year.

NACNS published three position papers on opioids, including one on the role of the clinical nurse specialist in addressing this public health emergency. Last year NACNS called for a multi-faceted approach that includes evidence-based pain management care, clinician education and systems-level changes to current practice, noting that clinical nurse specialists are ready to lead a thoughtful dialogue to support a balanced approach to safe acute and chronic pain management in a variety of settings.

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Founded in 1995, The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists is the only association representing the clinical nurse specialist (CNS). CNSs are advanced practice registered nurses who work in a variety of specialties to ensure high-quality, evidence-based, patient-centered care. As leaders in health care settings, CNSs provide direct patient care and lead initiatives to improve care and clinical outcomes, and reduce costs. NACNS is dedicated to advancing CNS practice and education, removing certification and regulatory barriers, and assuring the public access to quality CNS services.

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