Advisor

Walter Ellis

Date of Award

5-27-2009

Document Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Administration and Policy

Department

Public Administration

Physical Description

1 online resource (2, x, 224 p.)

Subjects

United States. Drug Enforcement Administration, Chronic pain -- Treatment, Opioids -- Therapeutic use -- Government policy, Physicians -- Professional ethics -- Oregon

DOI

10.15760/etd.6596

Abstract

The undertreatment of chronic pain and the prevention of drug abuse and diversion of pain medications (i.e., opioids) have been identified as public health issues in the United States. In this domain, the Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A.) faces challenges when enforcing the Controlled Substance Act because it is tasked with regulating the dispensing of opioids by physicians in the treatment of chronic pain, while also attempting to prevent their abuse and diversion. Thus, the D.E.A. must use discretion in how it enforces the C.S.A. because intentional actions to prevent opioid abuse and diversion could also unintentionally affect the willingness of primary care physicians to prescribe them in the treatment of chronic pain.

As an initial step in clarifying the boundaries between the D.E.A. and the medical profession, it was necessary to assess physician perceptions about the D.E.A. 's use of enforcement discretion. A total of 205 Oregon primary care physicians completed a web-based survey examining three domains: concern about D.E.A. enforcement discretion; autonomy related to use of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain; and prescribing of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain. Results indicated that some physicians perceive a concern about D.E.A. enforcement discretion, and those who have concern are more likely to perceive having reduced autonomy related to the use of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain. The results do not support previous research that showed that such concerns directly affects physician prescribing of opioids. Instead, results reveal that concern about D.E.A. enforcement discretion is associated with reduced perceived autonomy, and reduced perceived autonomy is associated with less willingness to prescribe opioids in the treatment of chronic pain.

This research takes the study on this topic one step further in identifying physician perceptions about D.E.A. enforcement discretion, and how these perceptions were associated with physician autonomy and prescribing of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain. In doing so, this research provides important scholarly contributions to the enforcement discretion literature, specific to the D.E.A., and medical professionalism as it pertains to physician autonomy related to the use of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain.

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/27707

Share

COinS