A series of letters from more than 80 leading doctors have urged President Donald Trumps administration to reverse a decision to temporarily block opioid prescriptions and withdraw a proposed rule for limiting opioid prescribing.
The letter signed by physicians at the University of Washington, the Mayo Clinic, the University at Buffalo and the University Hospitals of Chicago states that the president’s move to cut off opioids for a short period of time has led to more deaths than preventable, and that opioid abuse can worsen opioid-related conditions.
The letters follow Trump’s announcement of an emergency measure that would halt opioid prescribing for three months, which would be temporary.
Trump’s administration has also said it will review prescribing rules and move to allow prescriptions for opioids that are already legal for medical use, rather than prescribe them again.
The administration has said that the emergency measure is necessary to prevent “potentially catastrophic” opioid abuse and that opioids are the most widely prescribed prescription drugs in the United States.
But in a statement released Tuesday, the president said he would not make a final decision on how to proceed until the American people see how the opioid crisis is being managed.
“We are taking action now to prevent the deaths of people who were saved from opioid overdoses because of the president and his administration’s decision,” the statement said.
The president has called for a “pause” on opioids, saying that it was too early to declare an emergency and that there was too much information about the health risks of opioids to know how effective it would be.
On Monday, the Trump administration announced a new plan to allow people to apply for prescriptions for opioid medications.
That plan was announced after an analysis found that the U.S. had the highest rate of prescription opioid abuse in the world.
The American Medical Association also released a statement Tuesday calling for an emergency response to the opioid epidemic.
“The American people deserve to know the impact of their decisions and that the White House has not yet acted,” AMA President Robert Wood Johnson said.
“They deserve to be assured that the administration will work with Congress to move quickly to address this crisis.”
The White House said that it is reviewing the letter.