Join Us Today for CEPOP’s June 2020 All-Participants Meeting

Please join us at 3:00pm today for CEPOP’s June 2020 All-Participants teleconference, held via WebEx. We’re pleased to convene CEPOP participants and hear from several important focus topics around ongoing efforts to address the opioid epidemic during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Focus topic speakers include:

  • Reyna Taylor, MS, MBA, Vice President of Public Policy, National Council for Behavioral Health

We hope to continue hearing from CEPOP participants around the COVID-19 impacts felt as it relates to a comprehensive and coordinated opioid epidemic response. See the agenda.

CEPOP All-Participants Teleconference Logistics (June 2020)

  •  Join WebEx
  • Or, to join via conference call:
    Conference Line: (855) 244-8681
    Participant Code: 293 830 190

14 Members Urge DEA to Consider At-Home Disposal Initiative With National Takeback Day Postponed

Led by the leads for the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force Reps. Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), fourteen House members sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration this week urging the development of an at-home drug disposal initiative to augment the postponed National Drug Takeback Day. Recognizing the need for viable alternatives for at-home drug disposal during the pandemic, the letter urges the DEA to “mitigate the National Drug Takeback Day delay with an at-home disposal initiative that is convenient and effective while our nation continues to fight both the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing opioid public health emergency.”

Representatives Kuster and Fitzpatrick were joined by twelve other colleagues, including: Stephen Lynch (MA), David Trone (MD), John Rutherford (FL), Donald Norcross (NJ), Bill Foster (IL), David Joyce (OH), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY), Diana DeGette (CO), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE), Tim Ryan (OH), Conor Lamb (PA), and Debbie Dingell (MI).

Articles & Resources

Rep. Kuster Newsroom – Kuster, Fitzpatrick Lead Bipartisan Opioid Task Force in Urging DEA to Implement At-Home Drug Disposal Initiative during COVID-19 Public Health Emergency


New Jersey AG Addresses Overdose Risks During COVID-19

Recognizing the potential confluence of patient harms from the respiratory stressors of COVID-19 with opioid use disorder, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced this week at all physicians, dentists and other licensed healthcare providers prescribing more than 90 MME of an opioid for chronic pain management must co-prescribe naloxone. The Administrative Order, which also covers patients being co-prescribed an opioid and benzodiazepine, is aimed at promoting the availability and accessibility of naloxone throughout communities statewide where emergency medical services have already been stretched thin.

Sharon Joyce, Director of the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (NJ CARES) noted that, “Co-prescribing naloxone gives chronic pain patients and their families ready access to a lifesaving antidote to reverse an opioid overdose…This is critically important at a time when the very necessary social distancing and stay-at-home orders are in effect to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

To date, New Jersey had already evidenced increased utilization of naloxone deployment by law enforcement and EMS with figures higher for April and May 2020 as compared to the year prior. The Administrative Order will remain in effect throughout the duration of the current COVID-19 response.

Articles & Resources

New Jersey AG Newsroom – AG Grewal Announces Action to Reduce Risk of Fatal Overdoses During COVID-19 Crisis

Administrative Order

FDA Sends Guidance Document to OMB Around Clinical Endpoints for MAT

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration sent a draft guidance document for industry to the Office of Management and Budget for review focused on “Opioid Use Disorder: Endpoints for Demonstrating Effectiveness of Drugs For Medication-Assisted Treatment.” The notice of forthcoming guidance will now be reviewed by OMB and published in the Federal Register several weeks from now.

The FDA issued similar guidance in August 2018 which was intended to provide manufacturers with guidance around developing prescription drug products to treat opioid use disorder, specifically outlining clinical endpoints that the agency has deemed appropriate to demonstrate effectiveness. Additional information around the scope and focus of this forthcoming guidance document will be made clear upon its release.

Articles & Resources

OMB Regulatory Review – Opioid Use Disorder: Endpoints for Demonstrating Effectiveness of Drugs for Medication-Assisted Treatment; Guidance for Industry

August 2018 Guidance Document

What We Read Last Week

Several articles were published last week pertaining to the opioid epidemic, covering a variety of different components of the issue. Links to relevant articles are provided below.

Articles & Resources

NPR – For Opioid Users, Pandemic Means New Dangers, But Also New Treatment Options

American Medical Association – COVID-19 Ma Be Worsening Opioid Crisis, But States Can Take Action (Issue Brief)

Journal of the American Medical Association – Incidence of Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder Following Nonfatal Overdose in Commercially Insured Patients

Journal of the American Medical Association – Treating Patients With Opioid Use Disorder in Their Homes An Emerging Treatment Model

Health Affairs – COVID-19 Pandemic Provides Opportunity To Realign Self-Help Groups With Medications For People With Opioid Use Disorder

USA Today – The Coronavirus and Efforts to Fight It Could Be Fueling Opioid Deaths

Philadelphia Inquirer – Even with Private Insurance, Black Overdose Patients Are Half as Likely as Whites to Get Addiction Treatment, Penn Study Finds

Scientific American – Fatal Opioid Overdoses May Be More Common Than Thought

Financial Times – US Relaxes Rules for Opioid Substitutes During Lockdowns

University of Michigan Health Lab – Pain Doesn’t Take a Holiday: Dental Opioids Study Points to Need for Better Prescribing

World Economic Forum – COVID-10 Has Disrupted Addiction Treatment: A Neuroscientist Answers our Questions

Pew Charitable Trust – Three Ways to Combat Addiction During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York – Manhattan Doctor Sentenced to Prison for Illegally Distributing Oxycodone and Other Drugs

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana – Former VA Nurse Pleads Guilty to Stealing Controlled Drugs from VA Urgent Care Clinic

U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida – Thirteen Individuals Charged For Their Involvement In Six Fatal Opioid Overdoses Across Hillsborough, Pasco, And Pinellas Counties

This Week’s Calendar

We hope that everyone is remaining safe and healthy during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and enjoyed the holiday weekend. Both the House and Senate have returned to district for a brief Memorial Day recess; they are set to return in early June.

There are no relevant hearings or markups scheduled at this time. In the instance that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

Questions about the above content can be directed to [email protected].