Efforts Underway to Address the Opioid Epidemic
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Government agencies at the state
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)FDA Opioids Action Plan
This plan includes actions such as: working more closely with advisory committees before making product and labeling decisions; enhancing safety labeling; requiring new data; and seeking to improve treatment of both pain and addiction.
FDA Boxed Warnings for Opioid Analgesics
In response to the opioid crisis, FDA developed an Opioids Action Plan designed to take steps toward reducing the impact of opioid abuse on American families and communities.
In August 2016, FDA announced class-wide changes to drug labeling, including patient information, to help inform healthcare professionals and patients of the serious risks associated with the combined use of certain opioids and a class of central nervous system (CNS) depressant drugs called benzodiazepines. This included requiring boxed warnings – the FDA’s strongest warning – and patient-focused Medication Guides for prescription opioid analgesics, opioid-containing cough products, and benzodiazepines with information about the serious risks associated with using these medications at the same time. These risks include extreme sleepiness, respiratory depression, coma and death.1
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)CDC 2016 Guideline for Opioid Use for Chronic Pain
Includes recommendations for the prescribing of opioid medications for chronic pain. Recommendations focus on the use of opioids in treating chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care and end-of-life care.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)National Pain Strategy
This federal government plan is aimed at reducing the burden of chronic pain by improving pain care in six areas: population research; prevention and care; disparities; service delivery and payment; professional education and training; and public education and communication.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services AdministrationSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
SAMHSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs
State-run prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) collect, monitor and analyze prescribing and dispensing activity of controlled substances. PDMP management varies by state, but is usually administered by an independent Board of Pharmacy or law enforcement agencies.2
Visit the National Association of State Controlled Substance Authorities’ website for more information.