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National Academy of Medicine announces collaborative focused on ending opioid crisis

August 03, 2018 Image of NAM logo
Washington — The National Academy of Medicine on Aug. 1 launched the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic, a public-private partnership which the agency hopes will end the nation's current opioid crisis.   

To do this, NAM is partnering with the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington. The two institutions are collaborating with more than 30 other organizations, including the ADA. The initiative will focus on the over-prescribing of opioids, health provider education and training, and under-treatment of opioid use disorders, which "requires health industry innovation and collaboration with policymakers and care providers at all levels to achieve progress," the organization said in a news release.

"[S]o many organizations are working around the clock to reverse the opioid epidemic, yet progress has been slow," said NAM President Victor J. Dzau, M.D, chair of the collaborative. "The problem is clearly not absence of will, but insufficient alignment and coordination across sectors. The complex drivers of the opioid epidemic make it impossible for any single organization or professional sector to make a significant impact on its own. This one-of-a-kind public-private partnership will bring stakeholders from government, academia, the health care industry, health education and communities impacted by addiction under the same roof to build collective solutions and accelerate the pace of progress."

The collaborative is co-chaired by Brett Giroir, M.D., assistant secretary for health and senior advisor for mental health and opioid policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In June, ADA President-Elect Jeffrey Cole met with Adm. Giroir, who is also a physician, to discuss dentistry's continuing efforts in ending opioid crisis.

"It is clear that no single institution nor sector can solve the opioid crisis alone," said Adm. Giroir. "The only viable approach to addressing the opioid misuse epidemic, the most pressing public health challenge of our time, is through multisector collaboration and a patient-centered approach. This collaborative brings the best from academia, industry, nonprofits and public service to identify opportunities and recommend bold action plans to yield results."

The National Academy of Medicine is an independent organization that works to address critical issues in health, medicine and related policy. The NAM collaborates closely with its peer academies and other divisions within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

For more information, visit nam.edu/opioidcollaborative.