The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today finalized its guidance for primary care physicians prescribing opioids to adults for chronic pain in outpatient settings. The voluntary guidelines summarize scientific knowledge about the effectiveness and risks of long-term opioid therapy, and provide recommendations for when to initiate or continue opioids for chronic pain; opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up and discontinuation; and assessing risk and addressing harms of opioid use. They do not apply to cancer, palliative or end-of-life care. “Too many families have experienced devastating loss due to a loved one’s addiction to opioids,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “That’s why the need for sound clinical guidance is urgent and we appreciate the CDC’s leadership on this critical public health issue. The more we can do at every turn to help patients with safe, effective pain management – which could include the proper use of opioids – the better we can stem the tide of the opioid abuse epidemic. The AHA strongly supports this new guidance and will share it with all hospitals to ensure appropriate strategies are used to help manage pain and minimize the risk of addiction.”