Development of Pain Management Model Policy

"In the wake of criticism of state medical boards’ actions against physicians who prescribed large amounts of opioids, the Federation of State Medical Boards developed a model policy in 1998—since adopted by many individual state boards—that supports use of opioids for pain management if appropriately documented by the treating physician (Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States, 2004). State medical boards generally are believed to be the best locus for sanctioning physicians for their opioid prescribing patterns, as opposed to criminal prosecution (Reidenberg and Willis, 2007). However, sanctions and prosecutions are rare: between 1998 and 2006, only 0.1 percent of practicing physicians were charged by prosecutors, medical licensing boards, or other administrative agencies with opioid-related prescribing offenses, providing 'little objective basis for concern that pain specialists have been ‘singled out’ for prosecution or administrative sanctioning' (Goldenbaum et al., 2008, p. 2)."


Institute of Medicine, "Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research" (Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences, 2011), p. 144.
The Federation of State Medical Board's Model Policy on the Use of Controlled Substances for the Treatment of Pain (2004) is available at