Health care stakeholders, the Administration, and Congress are likely to continue responding to the worsening nationwide opioid abuse epidemic. Last October, President Trump declared a Nationwide Public Health Emergency to address the opioids crisis, but did not make a request to Congress for additional emergency funding. The public health emergency expires after 90 days, so it will need to be renewed. Congress has already held several hearings on the opioid crisis this year, indicating broad interest in this important issue. It remains to be seen whether Congress will appropriate further funding to respond to the epidemic.

The Administration continues to undertake efforts to address opioid misuse and harm. Last year, HHS outlined its five-point Opioid Strategy, focusing on the following areas:

  1. Improve access to prevention, treatment, and recovery support services to prevent the health, social, and economic consequences associated with opioid addition and to enable individuals to achieve long-term recovery.
  2. Target the availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs to ensure the broad provision of these drugs to people likely to experience or respond to an overdose, with a particular focus on targeting high-risk populations.
  3. Strengthen public health data reporting and collection to improve the timeliness and specificity of data and to inform a real-time public health response as the epidemic evolves.
  4. Support cutting-edge research that advances our understanding of pain and addition, leads to the development of new treatments, and identifies effective public health interventions to reduce opioid-related health harms.
  5. Advance the practice of pain management to enable access to high-quality, evidence-based pain care that reduces the burden of pain for individuals, families, and society, while also reducing the inappropriate use of opioids and opioid-related harms.

We expect the Administration to continue developing policy in these areas and focusing on the opioid epidemic as a key priority.