AHRQ Advances Efforts To Battle Opioid Epidemic


In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deployed a comprehensive 5-point strategy to help address the opioid epidemic. The purpose of this strategy is to educate and empower various stakeholders in five overarching areas, including:

  1. Access: Better Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services.
  2. Data: Better Data on the Epidemic.
  3. Pain: Better Pain Management.
  4. Overdoses: Better Targeting of Overdose-Reversing Drugs.
  5. Research: Better Research on Pain and Addiction.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is dedicated to supporting HHS and this strategy. In particular, AHRQ helped develop a new opioid action plan (PDF--6.1 MB) focused on improving pain management and opioid use disorder treatment through patient-centered clinical decision support. This type of support focuses on involving patients in their own care plan while also improving care delivery and outcomes. 

To further support HHS and the need for better research on pain and addiction, AHRQ recently released a technical brief summarizing their detailed analysis of more than 100 systematic reviews on treatment strategies for acute pain conditions. This report will serve as an evidence map to provide key stakeholders with the most recent treatment guidelines and the best evidence-based practices to treat acute pain, one of the underlying drivers of the opioid crisis.