Since the opioid epidemic was declared a national public health emergency in October 2017, progress has been slow in reversing rates of opioid misuse and overdose. This is due not to lack of will or resources, but to the complex drivers of the crisis and the cross-cutting strategies that will be required to resolve them.
To improve coordination and accelerate the pace of change, the National Academy of Medicine has partnered with the Aspen Institute and more than 50 other organizations to form an Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic. This one-of-a-kind public-private partnership comprises government, communities, health systems, provider groups, payers, industry, nonprofits, academia, and more – all committed to sharing knowledge, aligning ongoing initiatives, and advancing collective, multisector solutions. Future activities of the Collaborative will span public meetings, expert publications, and the development of an information hub, among other efforts.
To be notified of upcoming events and activities, join the project listserv.
Since 1999, the number of opioid-related deaths (from both prescription opioids and illegal drugs including heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil) has quadrupled. Today, driven in large part by the opioid epidemic, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., killing over 170 Americans every day. Addiction and overdose not only destroys individual lives, but erodes the health and prosperity of entire families and communities. The economic toll is nearly as large as the human cost; according to the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, the opioid crisis cost $504 billion in 2015, or 2.8% of GDP.
In order to be most effective, the Collaborative will focus on the most salient drivers of the epidemic, as well as unmet needs that require multidisciplinary solutions and coordinated, public-private response. These include, but are not limited to, the over-prescription of opioids for treatment of pain, where progress requires the involvement of clinicians, researchers and regulators; inadequate health provider education and training, where progress depends on the commitment of educators, specialty organizations, and accrediting institutions; and under-treatment of opioid use disorders, where progress relies on health industry innovation and collaboration with policy makers and care providers at all levels.
- Victor J. Dzau, MD (Chair) | President, National Academy of Medicine
- ADM Brett Giroir, MD (Co-Chair) | Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Ruth Katz, JD, MPH (Co-Chair) | Vice President and Executive Director, Health, Medicine and Society Program, Aspen Institute
- Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD (Co-Chair) | President, Clinical Services, and Chief Medical Officer, HCA Healthcare
- Jay Bhatt, DO | Chief Medical Officer, American Hospital Association
- Carlos Blanco, MD, PhD | Director, Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research, National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Helen Burstin, MD, MPH | Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, Council of Medical Specialty Societies
- Kathy Chappell, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN | Senior Vice President, American Nurses Credentialing Center
- Hank Chaudhry, DO, MS, FACP, FACOI (Federation of State Medical Boards)
- Kelly Clark, MD, MBA | President, American Society of Addiction Medicine
- Deb Houry, MD, MPH | Director, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Thomas Nasca, MD| President and Chief Executive Officer, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
- Andrey Ostrovsky, MD | Chief Executive Officer, Concerted Care Group
- Alonzo Plough, PhD | Chief Science Officer and Vice President, Research-Evaluation-Learning, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
- Steve Singer, PhD | Vice President, Education and Outreach, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education
In addition to the steering committee, the Action Collaborative is composed of four working groups. View the working group participants >>
The Action Collaborative is composed of four working groups designed to address key issues in formulating a comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic. The four working groups are (1) education and training (2) prescribing guidelines and evidence standards (3) prevention, treatment, and recovery and (4) research, data, and metrics.
State and Local
Health Systems and Provider Groups
Health Education and Accreditation
- Elizabeth Finkelman, MPP | Program Officer
- Jarrett Nguyen | Administrative Assistant
- Kyra Cappelucci | Communications Officer
- Talia Lewis | Web Communications Associate
- Anne-Marie Mazza | Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, Evaluation, and Advancement
To contact us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Responding to the Opioid Epidemic at the National Academies
- Remarks by ADM Brett Giroir, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health, HHS
- Press release
- NAM Special Publication: First, Do No Harm: Marshaling Clinician Leadership to Counter the Opioid Epidemic
- NASEM Consensus Study: Pain Management and the Opioid Epidemic: Balancing Societal and Individual Risks and Benefits of Prescription Opioid Use
- 2017 President’s Forum: The U.S. Opioid Epidemic