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听 听 听 听Marshaling Clinician Leadership to Counter the Opioid Epidemic

A Special Publication from the National Academy of Medicine

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Key Messages | Press Release

There is no question that opioid use disorder has become the fastest growing, serious, and far-reaching public health crisis facing our nation today.听The growing and unprecedented opioid epidemic is a critical issue for public health and medical care throughout the country. Provisional estimates suggest that nearly 65,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2016, a 21% increase from the previous year and at a level higher than occurred during the peak years for deaths from HIV infection and automobile fatalities.听

Nearly half of opioid overdose deaths are related to medications obtained legally by prescription, sparking deep concern among leaders in the health care sector. The need is clear for clinicians, as the 鈥済atekeepers鈥 of opioid prescriptions, and as the front line in facilitating access to treatment for addiction, to work together with state and community leaders to reduce the impact of opioid misuse on American communities.

At the request of the National Governors Association, the National Academy of Medicine convened a group of experts and field leaders to explore clinicians鈥 roles in addressing opioid misuse and addiction. The resulting special publication is informed by, and builds on, initiatives and guidelines that have been stewarded by various stakeholder organizations providing leadership in addressing these issues. In the midst of evolving understanding of and experience in pain management and substance abuse, the authors offer to clinicians a set of axioms applicable both to responsible, appropriate opioid prescribing practices, and to recognition and treatment of substance use disorder. Also underscored are actions that clinicians can take to improve their skills and effectiveness in the face of the growing need, including leadership engagement to ensure that communities have the resources and tools that clinicians require to fulfill their responsibilities.

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Authors听

  • Susan M. Adams,听Professor of Nursing, Vanderbilt University
  • Carlos Blanco,听Director, Division of Epidemiology, National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • Humayun J. Chaudhry,听President and Chief Executive Officer, Federation of State Medical Boards
  • Harry Chen,听Commissioner, Vermont Department of Health (former)
  • Roger Chou,听Professor of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University
  • Melissa L.D. Christopher,National Director, Academic Detailing, Department Veterans Affairs
  • Patrice A. Harris,听Chair, Task Force to Reduce Rx Opioid Abuse, American Medical Association
  • Saul M. Levin,听Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director, American Psychiatric Association
  • Sean Mackey,听Director, Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab
  • Elinore McCance-Katz,听Chief Medical Officer, Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare听(now Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC)
  • Paul A. Moore,听Professor, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
  • James P. Rathmell, Chair, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women鈥檚 Hospital and Professor of Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School
  • Travis N. Rieder, Assistant Director for Education Initiatives, Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University
  • Bob Tillman, Executive Director, Academy of Integrative Pain Management


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