Opioid safety is focus of $1 million-a-year educational initiative

My lede:

A group that represents patients living with pain has launched an initiative aimed at educating physicians and patients on how to prescribe and use opioids and other pain treatments safely.

The $1 million-a-year project is called Pain Safety & Access for Everyone, or PainSAFE. It comes in response to a striking rise in deaths and overdoses related to opioid abuse and controversy over how the drugs are marketed.

Fatal opioid overdoses tripled to nearly 14,000 deaths from 1999 to 2006, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data reported in September 2009. In June, the CDC estimated that 305,885 emergency department visits in 2008 were related to opioids, more than double the 2004 estimate of 144,644.

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