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Since 1999, the number of opioid-related deaths -- from both prescription opioids and illegal drugs including heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil -- has quadrupled. Driven in large part by the opioid epidemic, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. The ongoing opioid crisis lies at the intersection of two public health challenges: reducing the burden of suffering from pain and containing the rising toll of the harms that can arise from the use of opioid medications. Many activities across the National Academies are looking at these issues related to the opioid epidemic.


opioids Action CollaborativeMore Than 100 Organizations Join the National Academy of Medicine in Countering the Opioid Epidemic
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. Read More

National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic Issues National Call for Commitment Statements
To provide an opportunity for organizations across the country to discuss, share plans of action, and collaboratively accelerate change in reversing the opioid crisis, the NAM’s Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic is collecting statements describing organizational goals or commitments to action in the following focus areas: 1) health professional education and training; 2) opioid prescribing guidelines and evidence standards; 3) prevention, treatment, and recovery; and 4) research, data, and metrics. Read More


NAM Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic
This one-of-a-kind public-private partnership with the Aspen Institute comprises government, communities, health systems, provider groups, payers, industry, and more – all committed to sharing knowledge, aligning ongoing initiatives, and advancing collective, multisector solutions to counter the opioid epidemic. For more information, contact

Examination of the Integration of Opioid and Infectious Disease Prevention Efforts in Select Programs
The Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requested this study, which will review select programs to assess the extent to which opioid and infectious disease prevention programs are integrating the services they provide. The study will identify and highlight programs that are achieving integration as well as barriers to integration, and may suggest strategies to address these barriers. For more information, contact Rose Marie Martinez at

Evidence-based Clinical Practice Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Acute Pain
This study is looking at developing a framework to evaluate the evidence base for existing clinical practice guidelines for prescribing opioids for acute pain indications, as well as identifying surgical procedures and health conditions for which new guidelines should be developed, and prioritizing a research agenda to address evidence gaps. For more information, contact Roberta Wedge at
Assessment of the Available Scientific Data Regarding the Safety and Effectiveness of Ingredients Used in Compounded Topical Pain Creams
This study will identify and analyze the available scientific data related to the ingredients used in compounded topical pain creams and evaluate how those data translate to the safety and effectiveness of these creams with various combinations of ingredients. For more information, contact Leigh Miles Jackson at

Review of Specific Programs in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act
This study will review outcomes achieved by four specific programs funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration authorized in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The specific programs are Building Communities of Recovery, State Pilot Grant Program for Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women, First Responders, and Improving Access to Overdose Treatment. The review will result in three reports over five years. For more information, contact Pamela Ramey-McCray at
Development of a Protocol to Evaluate the Concomitant Prescribing of Opioid and Benzodiazepine Medications and Veterans Deaths and Suicides
This study will develop a protocol (study design) to evaluate the relationship between concomitant opioid and benzodiazepine medication practices at the Department of Veterans Affairs, for treating mental health and combat-related trauma, which potentially led to veterans’ deaths and suicides. For more information, contact Carolyn Fulco at