Join us TODAY! CEPOP and MAPDA Hold Second Webinar in Pandemic-Epidemic Series with US Rep. Tonko, DEA, and National Experts

At 3:00pm ET today, CEPOP will be hosting its Monthly All-Participants Teleconference albeit abbreviated. Lasting only 30 minutes, this call will cover the main policy and advocacy priorities for the organization and working group updates. Upon working through those agenda items, CEPOP participants are invited to join the second CEPOP-MAPDA policy webinar (start time 3:30pm).

Today’s webinar will focus on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) access during the COVID-19 pandemic. A copy of the webinar agenda is attached for reference.

It’s not too late to register. For additional information or to register for the series, please visit the event page. Also at this link are the on-demand recordings of our past webinars as they become available.

The forthcoming webinars will focus on the following topics:

Monday, July 27th (3:30pm – 4:30pm): Policy Changes to Medication-Assisted Treatment
To address stay-at-home and self-isolation policies, federal regulators have expanded take-home opportunities for MAT prescriptions as well as initiation of new treatment modalities. This webinar will explore the new framework and its active integration into the current care paradigm. Confirmed speakers for this session include:

  • The Honorable Paul Tonko (NY-20), U.S. House of Representatives
  • Claire Brennan, Section Chief, Liaison Section, and Anastasia Martin, Staff Coordinator, Policy Section, Diversion Control Division, Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Yuri Maricich, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer, Pear Therapeutics
  • Mark Parrino, MPA, President, American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence
  • Samantha Arsenault, MA, Vice President, National Treatment Quality Initiatives, Shatterproof
  • Moderated by: Van Ingram, Executive Director, Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy

Monday, August 10th (3:00pm – 4:00pm): Addressing Access and Utilization of Opioid Overdose Reversal Medications
Recognizing the changes in prescribing policy and availability for prescription opioids and medication-assisted treatment, there remains an increasingly important need for access to overdose reversal medications. The panel will discuss options for improving this condition and preventing unnecessary overdoses.

Monday, August 17th (3:00pm – 4:00pm): Addressing Excess Medications in the Home
With the primary point of care now being in the home, additional considerations should be given to addressing and mitigating the risk of excess controlled substances. How do SUPPORT Act and other authorities enable this element of the response?

Please reach out to Matt Rubin with any questions, follow-up or series speaker suggestions!

FDA Announces Opioid Label Change to Include Naloxone

The Food and Drug Administration issued a Drug Safety Communication on Thursday that indicated the agency’s new requirement of all manufacturers to change labels for prescription opioids and medication-assisted treatment and encourage healthcare providers to consider naloxone be prescribed alongside any opioid or MAT product. The agency suggests that healthcare providers make these conversations a routine part of patient interactions whether upon initiation of an opioid or throughout a treatment regimen.

Upon release of the DSC, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn noted that, “Today’s action can help further raise awareness about this potentially life-saving treatment for individuals that may be at greater risk of an overdose and those in the community most likely to observe an overdose. We will use all available tools to address this crisis, and we know efforts to increase access to naloxone have the potential to put an important medicine for combatting opioid overdose and death in the hands of those who need it most – those at increased risk of opioid overdose and their friends and family.”

Articles & Resources

FDA Newsroom – FDA Requiring Labeling Changes for Opioid Pain Medicines, Opioid Use Disorder Medicines Regarding Naloxone

FDA Drug Safety Communication for Naloxone

STAT News – FDA Says Opioid Labels Must Include Information About Naloxone

AP News – FDA Tells Doctors to Discuss Overdose Antidote with Patients

CDC Opens Public Comment Period On Acute, Chronic Pain Management

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week, via Federal Register, the opportunity for stakeholders to provide individualized feedback to the agency on the management of acute and chronic pain. Individuals and organizations may volunteer to participate in a series of 45-60 minute discussions with agency officials throughout September. A total of 100 respondents will be chosen at random to participate.

Seeking o better understand stakeholder perspectives on and experiences with pain and pain management, the stakeholder groups of interest include:

  • Patients with acute or chronic pain;
  • Caregivers or family members of an individual with acute or chronic pain;
  • Healthcare providers with experience treating pain or other complex cases.

Those interested in participating should contact CDC staff no later than 5:00pm on Friday, August 21st.

The final rule goes into effect as of August 14, 2020.

Articles & Resources

Federal Register – Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records

AMA Annual Report Highlights Epidemic Evolution

The American Medical Association’s Opioid Task Force released a comprehensive report last week that provided an updated snapshot of the national opioid epidemic and impacts of other illicit drug misuse and abuse. While prescription opioid dispensing has decreased substantially since 2013, by nearly 40% and PDMP utilization rose by nearly 65% year over year, deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine has risen appreciably. To help address the evolving epidemic, the report points towards the greater number of physicians permitted to treat opioid use disorder (which has risen by 50,000 since 2017) and the more than 1 million prescriptions of naloxone dispensed in 2019. That number demonstrates a doubling of the 2018 prescribing rates and a near 650% increase over 2017 rates.

“The nation needs to confront the fact that the nation’s drug overdose epidemic is now being driven predominantly by highly potent illicit fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine, although mortality involving prescription opioids remains a top concern…If it weren’t for naloxone, there likely would be tens of thousands additional deaths. It is past time for policymakers, health insurers, pharmacy chains and pharmacy benefit managers to remove barriers to evidence-based care for patients with pain and those with a substance use disorder,” said AMA Opioid Task Force Chair and Immediate Past-President Dr. Patrice Harris.

Articles & Resources

AMA Newsroom – AMA Report Shows Evolving, Deadlier Overdose Epidemic

LINK – AMA Opioid Task Force 2020 Progress Report

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

New York Times – Indivior to $600 Million to Resolve U.S. Opioid Treatment Marketing Claims

Fort Worth Star-Telegram – The Opioid Crisis Hasn’t Gone Away. How Proper Disposal of Drugs Can Prevent Overdoses

Bloomberg – IV Painkillers Pinched in Opioid Crackdown, Hospitals Warn DEA

Portland Press Herald – Mills Administration to Convene Summit on Responding to Opioid Crisis

The Brookings Institution – Fending Off Fentanyl and Hunting Down Heroin: Controlling Opioid Supply from Mexico

The Brookings Institution – Fentanyl and Geopolitics: Controlling Opioid Supply from China

Department of Justice – Indivior Solutions Pleads Guilty To Felony Charge And Indivior Entities Agree To Pay $600 Million To Resolve Criminal And Civil Investigations As Part Of DOJ’s Largest Opioid Resolution

Office of the Connecticut Attorney General – AG Tong Announces Settlement with Recovery Network of Programs Over Drug Testing Overbilling

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin – Menomonee Falls, WI Doctor Sentenced for Illegal Opioid Prescribing

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia – Norton Doctor Sentenced for Illegally Prescribing, Health Care Fraud

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York – Doctor Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court To Illegal Distribution Of Oxycodone From Brooklyn Clinic

This Week’s Calendar

The House and Senate are both in session next week as we quickly approach the August recess and discussions remain ongoing related to the COVID-19 response relief package. Both the House and Senate will also continue FY21 appropriations hearings in an effort to advance their respective packages. Beyond those efforts, 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.

  • National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
    Caring for People with Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders in Primary Care Settings
    Wednesday, July 29; 12:00 pm; Register

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