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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The 3Cs Framework for Pain and Unhealthy Substance Use: Minimum Core Competencies for Interprofessional Education and Practice

Adequate, efficient, effective, and compassionate care for pain and unhealthy substance use requires a health care workforce that is appropriately prepared to deliver that care. A new framework from the NAM’s Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic outlines minimum core competencies for all health care professionals who encounter patients experiencing pain or unhealthy substance use. Read more about the framework and the authors’ approach to addressing this complex issue.

Introduction to Improving Telehealth and Virtual Care for Pain Management and Opioid/Substance Use Disorder

The future of pain management and opioid and substance use disorder care requires an integrated, hybrid approach—blending both in-person and virtual care—that can be adapted for the individual needs of a diverse patient population. A new NAM Discussion Proceedings provides a summary of conversations about the current telehealth and virtual care environment and introduced key concepts as well as some of the benefits of and barriers to advancing telehealth.

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. 

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.

Countering the Opioid Crisis: Time to Act

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. Listen Now! >>

Improving Telehealth & Virtual Care for Pain Management and SUDs

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
Rachel Levine, Co-Chair | U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Ruth Katz, Co-Chair | Aspen Institute
Jonathan Perlin, Co-Chair | HCA Healthcare

Action Collaborative Staff

Aisha Salman, Director
Noah Duff, Associate Program Officer
Radhika Hira, Communications Officer
Emma Freiling, Research Assistant
Bailey Radenbaugh, Senior Program Assistant

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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