March 31, 2015
HHS Secretary Burwell Announces Plan to Address Opioid Use
On March 26, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced a targeted initiative aimed at reducing prescription opioid and heroin related overdose, death and dependence. The Secretary’s plan focuses on three priority areas:
- Providing training and educational resources, including updated prescriber guidelines, to assist health professionals in making informed prescribing decisions and address the over-prescribing of opioids.
- Increasing use of naloxone, as well as continuing to support the development and distribution of the life-saving drug, to help reduce the number of deaths associated with prescription opioid and heroin overdose.
- Expanding the use of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), a comprehensive way to address the needs of individuals that combines the use of medication with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders.
The priority areas build on current HHS strategies, which involve working across the federal government, as well as with states and private industry.
ASA has been a long-time proponent of education about the life-saving drug naloxone and applauds the Secretary for making safe use of prescription opioids a priority. In 2013, ASA worked with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to develop an informational card that provides easy-to-understand lifesaving techniques to help friends and family attend to someone suspected of an opioid overdose.
ASA also appreciates the Secretary’s effort to support collaborative initiatives within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both agencies play an important role in addressing opioid abuse and dangerous side effects of opioids.
Download ASA’s Opioid Overdose Resuscitation Card (PDF)
Learn more about ASA’s efforts address prescription drug abuse
For more information on the Secretary’s initiative, click here.