Te President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addic- tion and the Opioid Crisis, released its final recommendations on how to fight the national opioid crisis on Nov. 1, 2017. According to the commission’s report, the country should in- crease federal funding and addiction prevention programs, expand federal drug courts and devise new law enforcement strategies to reduce opioid supply. Te commission issued 56 recommendations, which are avail- able online. Here is a summary of a few of the recommendations:

Federal Funding and Programs

• Block grant federal funding for opioid-related and Sub- stance Use Disorder (SUD) related activities to the states to allow more resources to be spent on administering life- saving programs rather than on reporting.

• Establish a coordinated system for tracking all federally funded initiatives and invest in only programs that achieve quantifiable goals and metrics.

Opioid Addiction Prevention

• Collaborate with states on programs to identify at-risk youth needing treatment. Deploy prevention tools for ad- olescents in middle school, high school and college levels.

• Design and implement a wide-reaching, national multi- platform media campaign addressing the hazards of sub- stance use, the danger of opioids, and stigma.

Prescribing Guidelines, Regulations, Education

• Develop model statutes, regulations, and policies that en- sure patients understand the risks, benefits and alterna- tives to taking opioids for chronic pain.

• Update guidelines for prescription pain medications. • Develop and disseminate a model training program on screening for substance use and mental health status to healthcare providers and prescribers.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)

• Mandate states that receive grant funds to comply with PDMP requirements, including data sharing, and fund


President’s opioid commission issues final recommendations the establishment and maintenance of a data-sharing hub.

Increase electronic prescribing to prevent diversio, forgery. Supply Reduction and Enforcement Strategies

• Utilize Take Back Day to inform the public about drug screening and treatment services.

• Remove pain survey questions on patient satisfaction sur- veys so providers are never incentivized for offering opi- oids to raise their survey score.

• Enhance federal sentencing penalties for the trafficking of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues.

• Target drug trafficking organizations and other indi- viduals who produce and sell counterfeit pills, including through the Internet.

Opioid Addiction Treatment, Overdose Reversal, and Recovery

• Remove reimbursement and policy barriers to SUD treat- ment, that limit access to FDA-approved medication- assisted treatment, counseling, inpatient/residential treat- ment, and other treatment modalities.

• Broadly establish federal drug courts. State, local, and tribal governments should apply for drug court grants and divert individuals with an SUD who violate proba- tion terms into drug court, rather than prison.

• •

Implement naloxone co-prescribing pilot programs to confirm initial research and identify best practices.

Implement guidelines and reimbursement policies for re- covery support services, including peer-to-peer programs, jobs and life skills training, supportive housing, and re- covery housing.

Research and Development

• Review existing research programs and establish goals for pain management and addiction research (both preven- tion and treatment).

• Fund and continue research to develop and test innovative medications for Substance Use and Opioid Use disorders.

Notable commission conclusion

“The origins of the current opioid crisis can be traced ... to a five-sentence letter to a biomedical journal in 1980, followed by other low-quality articles claiming that opioid narcotics are safe to use universally for chronic pain ... It also instigated the opioid pharmaceutical industry to em- brace and exploit the flawed claims with aggressive marketing and ‘educational outreach.’”


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