October 29, 2021
Biden Administration Releases Strategy to Reduce Opioid Epidemic
This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced the release of the new HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy which is designed to increase access to services for individuals who use substances that lead to overdoses or unintended deaths. The strategy outlined by the Administration prioritizes four key areas including primary prevention, harm reduction, evidence-based treatment, and recovery support.
Key components of the primary prevention strategy include issues important to anesthesiologists, including increasing access to high-quality pain management to reduce preventable suffering, and promoting responsible prescription of medications to protect patient safety. ASA is particularly pleased that the strategy includes the much-needed revision and update of the CDC Guideline for prescribing opioids and support for clinical research through the ASA-endorsed NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative. Other activities highlighted by HHS are reducing stigma through the CDC’s public education campaign and widening access to opioid overdose reversal treatments, such as FDA’s work on naloxone, in the agency’s harm reduction plans.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is committed to addressing the opioid epidemic and has been driving several initiatives including ReviveMe to reduce opioid and drug related mortality, as well as the ASA hosted 2021 multi-societal pain summit which culminated in a resource guide for clinicians for acute surgical pain. ASA commends the Administration for addressing the rise in overdoses and will continue to support evidence-based strategies and individualized patient care.
Read the announcement here.