ONDCP Hosts Roundtable on Making Every Day Drug Takeback Day

Recognizing the need for continued efforts to address prescription drug misuse and abuse and to augment the Drug Enforcement Administration’s biannual National Drug Takeback Day (see entry below), the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy convened public- and private-sector stakeholders to discuss efforts to expand takeback programs. Participants heard from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Drug Enforcement Administration, and local leaders around challenges to takeback and disposal of unused and unwanted medications. Through a moderated roundtable, attendees were educated on existing technologies and interventions aimed at reducing misuse, abuse and diversion of prescription opioids and other medications.

CEPOP co-convener and Steering Committee member Mary Bono provided introductory remarks and underscored the importance of the afternoon’s dialogue along with panel remarks from CEPOP participant Verde Technologies. CEPOP looks forward to continue supporting ONDCP and this important initiative to ensure unused and unwanted drugs do not remain in the home where they may be susceptible to misuse, abuse or diversion

Articles & Resources

Department of Justice Justice Department Announces Global Resolution of Criminal and Civil Investigations with Opioid Manufacturer Purdue Pharma and Civil Settlement with Members of the Sackler Family

Department of Justice – Remarks by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen on the Resolution of Civil and Criminal Investigations into Purdue Pharma and the Sackler Family

Drug Takeback Day Sets Record, Nets Nearly 1 Million Pounds of Unused, Unwanted Drugs

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s biannual drug takeback day held last Saturday proved to be the most successful event to date, collecting 985,392 pounds of unused and unwanted medications nationwide. Across 4,600 collection sites, this most recent Takeback Day demonstrated the most significant public engagement in the program and willingness of consumers to rid their homes of unneeded drugs.

To date, the Drug Takeback Day program has collected just shy of 14 million pounds of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications and other drugs. Removal of these products from the homes continues to be a positive intervention in reducing the risk of misuse, abuse, diversion, and accidental poisoning.

Acting Director Timothy Shea said, as part of the announcement, “This year’s event, with a record-setting 493-ton collection, is a sure sign that DEA’s Take Back Day events continue to provide a vital public service that keeps loved ones safe—an opportunity to rid homes of potentially dangerous unused, expired, and unwanted medications.”

Articles & Resources

Drug Enforcement Administration – DEA and Partners Collect a Record Amount of Unwanted Medications During National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Pediatricians Issue Guidance on Opioid Use During Pregnancy

In response to the precipitous rise in substance use disorders among pregnant women and their children, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced this week issuance of detailed recommendations for addressing these issues and ongoing efforts to mitigate the prevalence and risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS), also known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Between 2000 and 2016 the rate of NOWS among newborns has risen precipitously, from a rate of 1.2 per 1,000 births to upwards of 8.8.

Within the Clinical Report, AAP outlines several areas of emphasis when looking to address NOWS, including areas such as “improving medical treatment and access, prenatal counseling and screening; observation of infants and their diagnosis, treatment, and discharge of the infant.” Within these areas, AAP is suggesting that pregnant women have improved access to mediation-assisted treatment, improved funding for maternal health and OUD treatment, ongoing counseling services, development of standardized approaches to addressing newborns with NOWS and prioritization of efforts to aim to keep the mother and child together throughout the course of observation and care.

Articles & Resources

American Academy of Pediatrics – American Academy of Pediatrics Calls for Systemic, Coordinated and Holistic Approach to Help Mothers, Infants Affected by Opioid Crisis

Pediatrics – Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome

Modern Healthcare – New Guidelines Address Rise in Opioid Use During Pregnancy

DEA Issues Interim Final Rule Clarifying MAT Dispensing

In an interim final rule published in the Federal Register on Thursday, the Drug Enforcement Administration has finalized sections 3201 and 3202 of the 2018 SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act aimed at expanding the types of healthcare providers that are able to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorders. In its publication, the DEA expands the definition of “qualifying other practitioners” to include nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who meet particular qualifications under federal law. This will also temporarily expand coverage, as a “qualifying other practitioner,” to clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives through October 2023. Section 3032 also clarifies the definition of a “qualified physician.”

The IRF also clarifies the conditions around pharmacy delivery of a controlled substance to a prescriber for the purposes of detoxification or treatment of an opioid use disorder.

The interim final rule is effective as of October 30th and will be published in the Federal Register today, subject to a 60-day notice and comment period.

Articles & Resources

Federal Register – Implementation of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act of 2018: Dispensing and Administering Controlled Substances for Medication-Assisted Treatment

USPS, DEA Collaborate on Drug Free USA Forever Stamp

Following reports of a successful and robust National Drug Takeback Day, the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Postal Service announced last week the new Drug Free USA Forever stamp aimed to raise awareness around prevention initiatives and the dangers of substance misuse and abuse. Joining leadership from DEA and USPS was Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier who is also using her platform to promote a drug-free America.

In announcing the availability of the stamp, DEA Acting Administrator Tim Shea said, “With this powerful image and message, the U.S. Postal Service has given us another means to promote the battle against drug abuse…In America alone, 70,000 lives are lost to drug overdoses every year, with countless others impacted by the actions of violent drug traffickers and the scourge of illegal drug use. We urge the public to engage in this fight against illegal drug use and to use the Drug Free USA stamp to signify their support for safer, drug-free communities.”

Articles & Resources

DEA Newsroom – DEA and USPS Unveil Drug Free USA Forever Stamp

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

POLITICO – 4 Ways the Opioid Law Hasn’t Delivered on its Promises

NPR – Opioid Crisis: Critics Say Trump Fumbled Response to Another Deadly Epidemic

New York Times – This Addiction Treatment Works. Why Is It So Underused?

STAT News – Lawmakers Release Trove of Purdue Documents Detailing Sackler Family’s Involvement in Opioid Sales

Gateway Health Plan – Gateway Health and Giant Eagle Pharmacy Pilot an Innovative Approach to Addressing the Opioid Epidemic in Allegheny County

DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance – Funding Opportunity and Webinar Available: Comprehensive Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Program

House Committee on Oversight and Reform – Maloney and DeSaulnier Release Documents Following DOJ Settlement with Purdue and Sackler Family

White House Newsroom – Trump Administration Announces Second Phase of FY 2020 Drug-Free Communities Grant Awards, Continuing Commitment to Substance Use Prevention

Department of Justice – West Tennessee Psychiatrist Sentenced for Unlawfully Distributing Opioids

FDA Newsroom – FDA, Homeland Security Agencies Take Additional Action to Prevent Import of Illegal and Harmful Medical Products Through International Mail Facilities

DEA Newsroom – Pharmacist Sentenced for Presenting Forged Prescriptions for Opioid and Anti-Malaria Prescription Drugs

DEA Newsroom – Judge Sentences St. Louis County Doctor for Fraudulently Obtaining Opioid Narcotic Prescription Drugs

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California – El Cajon “Pill Mill” Doctor Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Causing the Illegal Distribution of Opioids

U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts – Connecticut Nurse Charged with Tampering with Liquid Morphine

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas – Registered Nurse Who Stole Fentanyl and Tampered with Patients’ Medicine Sentenced to Two Years in Federal Prison

U.S. Attorney of the District of Connecticut – Nurse Admits Illegally Writing Prescriptions for Oxycodone and Xanax

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Pharmacist Sentenced to Prison for Prescription Drug Conspiracy

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida – CEO, CFO, President, and Owner of Sober Homes Network “Serenity Ranch Recovery” Sentenced Following Conviction at Trial

This Week’s Calendar

The House and Senate have no opioid-related hearings or events scheduled with the 2020 election occurring on Tuesday, November 3rd. In the instance that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

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