Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have taken the lead in the issuance of a new set of comprehensive recommendations to address the epidemic of prescription opioid abuse, misuse, and diversion. Their report, “The Prescription Opioid Epidemic: An Evidence-Based Approach,” breaks the expert panel’s proposals into 7 categories, covering
• Prescribing guidelines
• Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs)
• Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and pharmacies
• Engineering strategies (such as packaging)
• Overdose education and naloxone distribution programs
• Addiction treatment
• Community-based prevention strategies
Summarizing their work, G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS, codirector of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness at the Bloomberg School said, “This is a complex epidemic with no simple solutions. We tried to identify as many windows as possible, and to tie together as much research as available, to inform these recommendations which together we believe provide the best chance of turning this steamship around.”
A discussion forum on the report is scheduled for later today at the Bloomberg School. The first hour, from 3pm to 4pm, will be live-streamed from www.jhsph.edu/rxtownhall.
The recommendations include calls for change in prescriber education and training, mandatory use of PDMPs, expanded availability of naloxone, to combat overdose incidents, better packaging of medications, and expanded access to community-based treatment programs. The report emanated from discussions that began last year at a town hall cohosted by the Bloomberg School and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation. Contributors included professionals from medicine, pharmacy, injury prevention and law, as well as patient representatives, insurers and drug manufacturers.
Read a news report about the recommendations here. A link to today’s video conference is also provided.