The following items highlight important news and publications about opioid use disorder (OUD) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT):
Department of Health and Human Services News and Publications
- Noninvasive Nonpharmacological Treatment for Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)— this systematic review of the literature that aims to assess which interventions for selected chronic pain conditions are associated with improvement in function and pain outcomes.
- Rural Health Strategy (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)—this describes the agency’s proactive strategy to increase access to and improve the quality of healthcare for people living in rural areas. Read the full report.
- CMS Roadmap to Address the Opioid Epidemic (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)— this roadmap outlines their three-pronged approach to combating the opioid epidemic, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and data utilization.
- Substance Use, the Opioid Epidemic, and the Child Welfare System: Key Findings from a Mixed Methods Study (PDF—204.2 KB) (Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation)—this study examines the impact of substance use on child welfare systems.
- FDA Approves First Medication to Manage Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms (Food and Drug Administration)—this notice details how the FDA approved the use of Lucemyra (lofexidine hydrochloride), a medication to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal.
- The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps: Fighting the Opioid Crisis Before and After Hours (Department of Health and Human Services)—this blog describes the important role of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in combatting the opioid epidemic in communities around the nation.
- NIH launches HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-Term) Initiative (National Institutes of Health)—this announcement describes the HEAL Initiative, which increases funding for research on the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorder and chronic pain.
- Surgeon General’s Advisory on Naloxone and Opioid Overdose (Office of the Surgeon General)—this public health advisory emphasizes the importance of naloxone and its ability to save the life of someone experiencing an opioid overdose.
- Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)—this data visualization from National Center for Health Statistics includes provisional counts for drug overdose deaths.
- Proposed Changes To Medicare Part D To Address Opioids (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)—this announcement describes plans to develop new policies to address opioid overutilization by Medicare Part D enrollees and to improve patient-doctor-plan communication regarding opioid use.
- Overdose Deaths Involving Opioids, Cocaine, and Psychostimulants — United States, 2015–2016 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)—this report finds over 63,632 people died of a drug overdose in 2016, of which approximately two-thirds (66.4 percent) were related to opioids.
- Rural Communities Opioid Response Funding Opportunity (Health Resources and Services Administration)—this funding opportunity will award grants to rural communities to implement opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions as part of a new Rural Communities Opioid Response (Planning) (RCORP) initiative.
- Secretary Azar Announces Appointments To Advance Department Priorities (Department of Health and Human Services)—this announcement from HHS Secretary Alex Azar notes the appointment of Brett Giroir to serve as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Mental Health and Opioid Policy.
- Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Delivers Remarks at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit (Food and Drug Administration)—this speech from the FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb advocates for “more rational prescribing” of opioids and describes several steps to be taken to address the need for education, a uniform system of electronic prescriptions, and enforcement of laws to prevent the distribution and sale of illegal opioids over the internet.
- Strategies To Address the Opioid Epidemic (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)—this letter announces that CMS will take a new approach in working with States on section 1115(a) demonstrations, which give States additional flexibility to design and improve their programs for Medicaid beneficiaries.
- The Underestimated Cost of the Opioid Crisis (Council of Economic Advisers)—this report estimates the economic cost of deaths from drug overdoses involving opioids to be $504 billion in 2015, or 2.8 percent of the Nation’s gross domestic product.
- Rural America in Crisis: The Changing Opioid Overdose Epidemic (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)—this blog discusses how rural communities have been effected by the opioid epidemic and how public health programs can prevent overdose deaths in rural America.
- Deaths Involving Fentanyl, Fentanyl Analogs, and U-47700—10 States, July-December 2016 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)—this report uses toxicologic and death scene evidence to characterize opioid overdose deaths and estimate those that involve synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and fentanyl analogs.
- Illicit Drug Use, Illicit Drug Use Disorders, and Drug Overdose Deaths in Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas—United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)—this study finds the rate of drug overdose deaths in rural areas is increasing and has surpassed rates in urban areas.
- AHRQ Intensifies the Battle Against Opioid Misuse in 2017, Commits To More Progress in 2018 (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)—this blog reflects on the agency’s work related to the opioid epidemic in the past year.
- Reducing Prescription Opioid Misuse in North Carolina (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)—this blog describes the Project Lazarus model in North Carolina, which uses community-based interventions to reduce prescription opioid misuse.
- Opioid Use Disorders: HHS Needs Measures To Assess the Effectiveness of Efforts To Expand Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment (Government Accountability Office)—this report recommends the Department of Health and Human Services establish performance measures and evaluation timeframes related to expanding access to medication-assisted treatment.
- SAMHSA Finalizes Rule Updating Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)— SAMHSA issued a final rule on January 3, 2018, to reflect changes in the U.S. health care delivery system while maintaining privacy for individuals receiving treatment for substance use disorders.
- Development of Medications To Prevent and Treat Opioid Use Disorders and Overdose (National Institute on Drug Abuse)— this Funding Opportunity Announcement aims to assist the development of medications to prevent and treat opioid use disorders and overdose.
- Buprenorphine Use and Spending for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment: Trends From 2003 to 2015 (Psychiatric Services)—this study examines trends in buprenorphine prescriptions and expenditures among privately insured adults.
- Association of Mental Health Conditions and Treatments With Long-term Opioid Analgesic Receipt Among Adolescents (JAMA Pediatrics)—this study finds that adolescents with co-occurring mental health conditions were more likely to transition to long-term opioid therapy from initial opioid receipt than those without these conditions. Read the accompanying editorial.
- Trends in Emergency Department Visits for Suspected Opioid Overdoses — United States, July 2016–September 2017 (CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report)—this article describes the overall increase in rates of opioid-involved overdoses as well as trends by region.
- Emergency Department Contribution To the Prescription Opioid Epidemic (Annals of Emergency Medicine)—this article finds that the relative contribution of emergency departments to opioid prescribing declined during the study period, while prescribing in office-based settings is responsible for the majority of the growth in opioid prescriptions.
- Corrected US Opioid-Involved Drug Poisoning Deaths and Mortality Rates, 1999–2015 (Addiction)—this analysis reports corrected national estimates of opioid-involved mortality as death certificates may underestimate the prevalence of and changes over time in opioid-related deaths.
- Impact of Medicaid Expansion on Access To Opioid Analgesic Medications and Medication Assisted Treatment (American Journal of Public Health)—this article finds there was no statistical difference in opioid prescribing between States that did and did not expand Medicaid; however, prescriptions of buprenorphine and naltrexone increased significantly within states that expanded Medicaid eligibility.
- Comparative Effectiveness of Extended-Release Naltrexone Versus Buprenorphine-Naloxone for Opioid Relapse Prevention: A Multicentre, Open-Label, Randomised Controlled Trial (The Lancet)—this study finds that both extended-release naltrexone and sublingual buprenorphine-naloxone were equally safe and effective, but it was more difficult to initiate patients with extended-release naltrexone.
- Experiences of Three States Implementing the Medicaid Health Home Model To Address Opioid Use Disorder (Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment)—this study concludes that opioid health homes may be an effective model to treat the complex needs of individuals with opioid use disorder.
- Service Use Preceding Opioid-Related Fatality (American Journal of Psychiatry)—this study examines health service patterns of individuals who died of opioid-related causes and finds that they commonly used services related to behavioral health disorders in their last year of life yet often lacked formal opioid use disorder diagnoses near the time of death.
- Underlying Factors in Drug Overdose Deaths (JAMA)—this opinion piece discusses the role of illicitly manufactured fentanyl in the increase in drug overdose deaths in recent years.
- Interdisciplinary Management of Opioid Use Disorder in Primary Care (Annals of Family Medicine)— this study describes a model for the implementation of medication-assisted treatment in primary care that emphasizes behavioral health services.
- Communication Strategies To Counter Stigma and Improve Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorder Policy (Psychiatric Services)— this article discusses the need for effective communication strategies to increase public support for policies that help individuals with behavioral health conditions.
- Integrating Infectious Disease Considerations with Response to the Opioid Epidemic: A Workshop (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine)—these recordings and presentations are shared from their public workshop on the impact of the opioid epidemic on infectious disease.
- Meeting the Opioid Challenge: Getting Naloxone to Those Who Need it Most (Health Affairs)—this blog discusses the importance of increasing access to naloxone to counteract opioid overdoses.
- Addressing Data and Information Gaps Contributing to Opioid Use Disorder (Network for Excellence in Health Innovation)—this policy brief recommends policy measures to facilitate the exchange of data and information and to help coordinate responses to the opioid epidemic.
- Suicide: A Silent Contributor to Opioid-Overdose Deaths (New England Journal of Medicine)—this editorial describes the need to address the role suicide plays in opioid-overdose fatalities.
- Strategies for Reducing Opioid-Overdose Deaths — Lessons from Canada (New England Journal of Medicine)—this editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine highlights actions taken and policies implemented by the Canadian government to decrease opioid overdoses.
- Interdisciplinary Care Effective for Opioid Use Disorder (Annals of Family Medicine)—this feature article examines an innovative treatment model for opioid use disorder in primary care.
- Telepsychiatry: an Innovative Approach to Addressing the Opioid Crisis (Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research)—this article recommends the inclusion of telepsychiatry into any strategy developed to address the opioid epidemic.
- Pharmacy Benefit Management of Opioid Prescribing: The Role of Employers and Insurers (Health Affairs)—this blog discusses how pharmacy benefit managers may use utilization management techniques to guide physician prescribing of opioids.
- Value-Based Payment as Part of a Broader Strategy To Address Opioid Addiction Crisis (Health Affairs)—this blog explains how value-based payment models could improve the quality and lower the costs of care for patients with opioid use disorder.
- In Focus: Expanding Access to Addiction Treatment Through Primary Care (The Commonwealth Fund)—this article discusses how integrating treatment into primary care presents an opportunity to increase access to addiction services.
- New Leaders Use Telehealth—and Teamwork—To Tackle Opioid Use (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)—this blog explains how programs can leverage telehealth technologies to increase access to treatment for patients with opioid use disorders who live in rural areas.