AANA Updates

Nurse Anesthetists Association Joins Voices for Non-Opioid Choices Coalition

  • Mar 21, 2019

For Immediate Release: March 21, 2019
For more information, contact: AANA Public Relations

National organization of anesthesia experts shares
group's vision for curbing opioids epidemic

Washington, D.C.—Voices for Non-Opioid Choices, a rising non-partisan coalition dedicated to curbing the U.S. opioids crisis by increasing patient access to non-opioid therapies and acute pain management, has gained a powerful new member in the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).

The AANA represents nearly 53,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and student nurse anesthetists, hands-on providers of more than 45 million anesthetics to patients each year in the United States. As anesthesia experts, CRNAs are uniquely qualified and positioned to help mitigate the opioid crisis by using their education and training in non-opioid and opioid-sparing pain management techniques in both acute and chronic pain care settings.

The association and its members also strongly advocate for the use of enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols to reduce opioid use during surgery and other procedures requiring anesthesia care.

“AANA is perfectly aligned with the mission of Voices for Non-Opioid Choices,” said AANA President Garry Brydges, DNP, MBA, CRNA, FAAN. “We are excited to be part of this dynamic coalition dedicated to combatting what is essentially a modern-day plague upon our society—the ongoing, deadly opioids crisis.”

The coalition, which is now 16 organizations strong representing millions of healthcare professionals and other stakeholders, subscribes to the theory that “it is critical to prevent addiction before it starts by increasing availability and utilization of non-opioid approaches to pain management,” according to the Voices website.

"Voices is thrilled to be working with a broad cross-section of stakeholders, including the AANA, to ensure that policymakers in Washington, D.C., and around the country prioritize the need to increase patient access to and awareness of non-opioid options for pain,” said Voices for Non-Opioid Choices Executive Director Chris Fox.  “In doing so, we can work together to promote policies to stop addiction before it starts."

The AANA’s commitment to rethinking pain management to reduce or eliminate the use of opioids while maintaining patient comfort and safety and helping to prevent post-surgical dependence on powerful narcotics is an ongoing initiative. Research has shown that approximately 3 million Americans become persistent opioid users after surgery, and 83 percent of heroin users began by using prescription pain medications.

In October 2018, the AANA welcomed the good news that the Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT) was enacted into law, adding CRNAs to the list of providers permitted to prescribe medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to individuals suffering from opioid dependence

In addition to the AANA, other members of the Voices coalition are the American Alliance of Orthopedic Executives, American Medical Women’s Association, American Nurses Association, Center on Addiction, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Healthcare Leadership Council, National Transitions of Care Coalition, and many others.

About the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

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