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.

Stigma of Addiction Summit – June 10, 2021

The National Academy of MedicineDell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, and Shatterproof are pleased to announce the Stigma of Addiction Summit: a half-day, virtual, action-oriented summit entirely dedicated to understanding, addressing, and eliminating the harmful impacts of stigma on people who use drugs. The goal of the Summit is to elevate current efforts at reducing stigma, identify successes and gaps in the evidence base, and prioritize and identify areas for future research and funding with an explicit focus on stigma, which is often touched upon only marginally in broader conversations about addiction. The Summit will be an active and forward-looking sharing of ideas and actions to advance how stigma is addressed and reduced as those with addiction seek and obtain treatment, and will be focused on reaching all stakeholders of the U.S. health ecosystem, including those in clinical service delivery, health system stakeholders, universities and academia, public health organizations, and professional member organizations.

The Stigma of Addiction Summit has been organized by an interprofessional and interdisciplinary planning committee of people in recovery, clinicians, health profession educators, addiction medicine professionals, government stakeholders, and health professional organizations. 

The Stigma of Addiction Summit is free to attend and will be recorded for viewing after the event ends.

Countering the Opioid Crisis: Time to Act

A new podcast series from NAM and the Aspen Institute

To broaden the reach of the Action Collaborative, the NAM and the Aspen Institute are proud to announce a new podcast series that will expand upon issues critical to reversing the deadly trends of the U.S. opioid epidemic, including the impact of COVID-19, structural racism and the war on drugs, stigma against people with addiction, the promise of improving education and training for health care professionals, and more. Countering the Opioid Crisis: Time to Act will be released monthly at

Listen Now! >>

Action Collaborative Releases Proposed Research Agenda

The National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic has outlined a comprehensive list of cross-sectoral research priorities designed to identify a responsive, evidence-based, and COVID-19-informed path to reinforcing the systems that educate and train health professionals, care for individuals who experience pain and provide prevention, treatment, and recovery services for substance use disorders.

You can read the comprehensive research agenda here. >>

Action Collaborative Extended Through 2022!

The Action Collaborative is pleased to announce the continuation of its work through the end of 2022.  Focusing on reversing the trends of the opioid epidemic is more vital than ever, as rising overdose rates and anecdotal evidence show a significant increase in substance use and misuse to cope with the unprecedented stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Action Collaborative’s work could not be more necessary or more timely.

Read the announcement>>

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New Discussion Paper from the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic

Publication Summary

Identifying, addressing, and closing existing gaps in the addiction and opioid use disorder treatment ecosystem is a vital step in addressing America’s epidemic of drug overdose and death.

Authors of a new individually-authored discussion paper outline major gaps in the treatment ecosystem through the framework of “the 4 Cs”: capacity, competency, consistency, and compensation. Under each major header, the authors identify areas that could benefit from sustained investment, further research, or applied expertise, including naloxone distribution, ensuring payment parity, identifying successes in telemedicine during COVID-19, and ensuring consistency of high-quality care.

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. 

Questions? Contact us at

Download our two-pager to share>>

Tapering on Long-Term Opioid Therapy

Supporting People with Addiction During COVID-19

Public Virtual Symposium — November 2020

The American Opioid Epidemic in Special Populations

Action Collaborative Leadership

Victor Dzau, Chair
Ruth Katz, Co-Chair
Jonathan Perlin, Co-Chair

Action Collaborative Staff

Elizabeth Finkelman, Director
Aisha Salman, Program Officer
Rebecca Sullenger, Research Assistant
Jarrett Nguyen, Senior Program Specialist
Radhika Hira, Communications Officer

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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