Action Collaborative on 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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Featured Activities

Discussion Proceedings from the Telehealth and Virtual Care Meeting Series

Two new NAM Discussion Proceedings focusing on improving telehealth and virtual care for pain management and opioid/substance use disorder are now available. The future of pain management and opioid and substance use disorder requires an integrated, hybrid approach—blending both in-person and virtual care—that can be adapted to the individual needs of a diverse patient population. Meeting two identified various areas where attention will be needed on state and federal regulatory changes to allow telehealth-enabled care to become a routine part of treating pain and SUD/OUD. Meeting three focused on how integrating telehealth and virtual care services into traditional systems of care can improve care delivery and innovation and better meet the needs of patients, caregivers, and clinicians across care settings. Learn more about the two new publications and the series as a whole.

Educating Together, Improving Together: Harmonizing Interprofessional Approaches to Address the Opioid Epidemic

A new NAM Special Publication from the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic identifies five action-oriented priorities that address critical professional practice gaps that exist for clinicians treating patients with pain and opioid use disorder. These key priorities underpin progress needed toward the Quadruple Aim of delivering the right care, at the right time, at the right cost, supportive of the well-being of the health care workforce, to more effectively respond to the U.S. opioid crisis.

Chronic Pain Journey Map

A new resource from the NAM Opioid Collaborative highlights gaps in chronic pain care and actions that can be taken to improve the pain management process. This tool, known as the Chronic Pain Journey Map, was informed by individuals with chronic pain and clinicians in pain management to understand the patient-clinician experience when navigating treatment. If taken up, the actionable strategies outlined in the map can accelerate a range of pain treatments by outlining approaches to effective communication that lead to strong clinical relationships and strategies to prioritize the quality of life for people with pain. 

The 3Cs Framework for Pain and Unhealthy Substance Use

Research Priorities 

Supporting People with Addiction During COVID-19

Future Directions for the Addiction & OUD Treatment Ecosystem

Action Collaborative Leadership

Victor Dzau, Chair | National Academy of Medicine
Ruth Katz, Co-Chair | Aspen Institute
Rachel Levine, Co-Chair | U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Richard Migliori, Co-Chair | UnitedHealth Group

Action Collaborative Staff

Aisha Salman, Director
Noah Duff, Associate Program Officer
Radhika Hira, Communications Officer
Emma Freiling, Research Associate
Bram Bond, Program Specialist

Action Collaborative Working Groups

Click here to view members of our four working groups. 


Please visit our events page for a list of past events.


  • 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 Association for Behavioral Healthcare
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Teladoc
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

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