Family Docs: On the Frontlines of the Opioid Crisis

Family physicians are on the front lines of healthcare, and see firsthand the many ways the opioid crisis devastates our communities (Chronic Pain Management and Opioid Misuse: A Public Health Concern).

Earlier this month, the American Academy of Family Physicians reiterated to CMS that “family physicians have the training, skills and compassion to help mitigate the nation’s opioid crisis and what is needed is greater investment in training, physician reimbursement and addressing social determinants of health” (AAFP to CMS: To Shrink Opioid Crisis, Grow Primary Care). We couldn’t agree more!

Minnesota Family Docs Are Addressing the Opioid Crisis

Minnesota family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students are stepping up to the plate to address this crisis. Medical students are learning to administer naloxone (MinnPost). Family medicine residents are being trained on how to treat substance use disorder with medication-assisted treatment (MinnPost). Practicing physicians are working collaboratively with their clinics, health systems and community stakeholders to create responses to this crisis that assist patients, their families and communities.

Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) members Heather Bell, MD, and Kurt DeVine, MD, have put together a successful community response to the opioid crisis in Little Falls, Minnesota, and are now assisting other rural communities, across Minnesota and beyond, in their journey to take care of patients and families suffering from substance use disorders (Minnesota Hospital Leads State Effort to Fight Opioid Crisis, One Patient at a Time). Look for a special feature in the upcoming fall edition of our quarterly member magazine, Minnesota Family Physician, for more on their work.

We’re proud of these efforts to fight opioid abuse in our state, but we know MORE support and training are needed.

Take Action

Want to help your clinic better care for patients with opioid use disorder? The MAFP is co-sponsoring the upcoming Buprenorphine Boot Camp – Getting Your Clinic Off the Ground, a 1.5-day continuing medical education conference designed to kick start your clinic’s efforts to care for patients with opioid use disorder (December 5-6, 2019, Bloomington, Minnesota). Register and learn more at

Want to join the MAFP’s advocacy efforts? Contact Jami Burbidge, MAM, our director for advocacy and engagement.

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Post authors:

  • Jami Burbidge, MAM, director of advocacy & engagement, @jami_burbidge
  • Emie Buege, communications

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