WASHINGTON — The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) announced today that more than 100 organizations across the U.S. — including community organizations, hospital and medical systems, academia, nonprofits, and health professional societies — have joined NAM in declaring their commitment to reversing national trends in opioid misuse and overdose. The announcement was made at a meeting of the NAM’s Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic.
“The opioid epidemic is one of the most devastating public health crises of the modern era, impacting individuals, families, and communities across the nation,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau. “The complexity of this crisis requires sustained commitment from all stakeholders: health systems, federal and state governments, community organizations, provider groups, payers, industry, nonprofits, and academia. Reversing the opioid epidemic requires a multi-sectoral response — no organization, agency, or sector can solve this problem on their own. NAM is privileged to lead this action collaborative, which will work to develop collective solutions and advance those with the most potential to reverse or stem the crisis. We are thrilled to see such a robust commitment from organizations across the country in joining with us to be part of the solution.”
To provide an opportunity for organizations to discuss and share plans of action, the NAM recently called for and has collected statements describing current work and future goals to counter the opioid epidemic in the areas of health professional education and training; opioid prescribing guidelines and evidence standards; prevention, treatment, and recovery; and research, data, and metrics. The call remains open.
By making a visible commitment to combating the opioid crisis, these groups join the action collaborative as network organizations. The full list of organizations is available at nam.edu/OpioidNetworkOrgs.
Founded in 2018 in collaboration with the Aspen Institute, the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic is a public-private partnership committed to developing, curating, and disseminating multi-sector solutions designed to reduce opioid misuse and improve outcomes for individuals, families, and communities affected by the opioid crisis. The Action Collaborative is sponsored by Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, Aetna, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Arnold Ventures, Association of American Medical Colleges, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC Foundation, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Council of Medical Specialty Societies, Federation of State Medical Boards, HCA Healthcare, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The number of opioid-related deaths — from both prescription opioids and illegal drugs including heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil — has quadrupled in the last 20 years. At present, the opioid epidemic claims 130 lives every day. Addiction and overdose not only destroy individual lives but also erode the health and prosperity of families and communities. The economic toll is significant; according to the nonprofit research organization Altarum, the cost of the opioid crisis is estimated to have exceeded $1 trillion from 2001 to 2017, and is projected to cost an additional $500 billion by 2020.
The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community. Through its domestic and global initiatives, the NAM works to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy and inspire positive action across sectors. The NAM collaborates closely with its peer academies and other divisions within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.