Should doctors be required to undergo special education in order to prescribe powerful narcotics? The Food and Drug Administration may soon recommend that they do so, though such a move would most likely prove controversial.
“I think it is a good idea, and it is something we are considering,” said Dr. Bob Rappaport, the director of the division of Anesthesia, Analgesia and Rheumatology Products at the F.D.A. But the agency itself does not have the authority to take such a step, Dr. Rappaport said.
Typically, state medical boards, rather than the federal government, impose licensing requirements on doctors, including the type of continuing education they must receive. A few states, including California, now provide doctors with education about the treatment of pain patients. But nationally, state medical boards have shown little interest in mandating added training in the use of potent pain medications or in screening patients for those prone to drug abuse.
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