Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic


The opioid crisis is complex. Together, we can overcome it.

Every day, an estimated 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose – a grim statistic that has devastated families and communities around the nation. Due to the complex and urgent nature of the epidemic, reversing the opioid crisis will require a multi-sectoral and multi-pronged response; no organization, government agency, or sector can solve this crisis on its own.

To improve coordination and accelerate the pace of change, the National Academy of Medicine has partnered with the Aspen Institute and more than 60 participants across the different sectors to form the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic, representing critical stakeholder organizations across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The Action Collaborative is 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. 

About the Action Collaborative

The Action Collaborative conducts its work around four core priority areas: Health Professional Education and Training; Pain Management Guidelines and Evidence Standards; Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services; and Research, Data, and Metrics Needs.

The Action Collaborative produces discussion papers to advance the field and accelerate action where the evidence dictates; conducts outreach; and leads convenings, webinars, and other special events to accelerate the translation of the most promising opportunities to reverse the opioid crisis. 

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Action Collaborative Leadership

Victor Dzau, Chair
ADM Brett Giroir, Co-Chair
Ruth Katz, Co-Chair
Jonathan Perlin, Co-Chair

Action Collaborative Working Groups

Click here to view members of our four working groups. 

Action Collaborative Staff

Elizabeth Finkelman, Director
Aisha Salman, Associate Program Officer
Jarrett Nguyen, Program Specialist
Jenna Ogilvie, Deputy Director, Communications
Olivia Ramirez, Communications Officer

New Consensus Reports from the National Academies

The opioid overdose epidemic combined with the need to reduce the burden of acute pain poses a public health challenge. To address how evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for prescribing opioids for acute pain might help meet this challenge, Framing Opioid Prescribing Guidelines for Acute Pain: Developing the Evidence develops a framework to evaluate existing clinical practice guidelines for prescribing opioids for acute pain indications, recommends indications for which new evidence-based guidelines should be developed, and recommends a future research agenda to inform and enable specialty organizations to develop and disseminate evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for prescribing opioids to treat acute pain indications.

Opioid use and infectious diseases are intertwined epidemics. Despite the fact that the U.S. is more than two decades into the opioid crisis – the cause of tens of thousands of deaths every year on its own – the health system has not sufficiently addressed the morbidity and mortality of drug use coupled with infectious diseases. This is at least in part due to traditional models of substance use disorder care wherein substance use disorder treatment is delivered independently of other medical care, thereby inhibiting the delivery of comprehensive care. As a result, the United States is experiencing a drastic increase in infectious diseases that spread with drug use.

Opportunities to Improve Opioid Use Disorder and Infectious Disease Services examines current efforts to integrate care and describes barriers, such as inadequate workforce and training; lack of data integration and sharing; and stigma among people who use drugs and have also been diagnosed with an infectious disease.




  • 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
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

NAM Member Spotlight

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the NAM/IOM in 2020, we are pleased to highlight NAM members who have contributed significantly to advancing our understanding of and the responsible treatment of substance use disorders and mental health disorders. 

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