QI News and Trends: Bonus Content

National Strategy to Reduce Opioid Epidemic, an Urgent Public Health Priority, Presented in New Report
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (07/13/17)

A sweeping new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine calls on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review the safety and effectiveness of all approved opioids. The report notes that containing and reversing the societal effects of the prescription and illicit opioid epidemics, which are intertwined, will take years of sustained and coordinated efforts. "The broad reach of the epidemic has blurred the formerly distinct social boundary between prescribed opioids and illegally manufactured ones, such as heroin," says committee chair Richard J. Bonnie, Harrison Foundation Professor of Medicine and Law and director of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. "This report provides an action plan directed particularly at the health professions and government agencies responsible for regulating them." Among the committee's recommendations are that states should convene a public-private partnership to implement drug take-back programs that allow drugs to be returned to any pharmacy on any day; public and private payers, including insurance companies, should develop reimbursement models that support evidence-based and cost-effective comprehensive pain management; and that the Department of Health and Human Services, in concert with state organizations, should conduct or sponsor research on how data from prescription drug monitoring programs can be better leveraged to track opioid prescribing and dispensing information. In addition, the report suggests that the National Institutes of Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and industry should invest in research that examines the nature of pain and opioid use disorder, and also develop new non-addictive treatments for pain.

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