13th Annual Rx and Illicit Drug Summit Summary

From April 1-4, stakeholders, experts, and government players visited Atlanta, Georgia, to participate in the 13th Annual Rx and Illicit Drug Summit. The event highlighted the ongoing efforts and hurdles to tackling the opioid crisis. The Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) Deputy Assistant Administrator Thomas Prevoznik highlighted the continuous impact stigma plays in accessing treatment. Despite the massive increase in prescribers of buprenorphine, pharmacies continue not to dispense the drug. At the event, Prevoznik is quoted saying, “ The biggest thing I heard and continue to hear from prescribers and pharmacists…is they continue to call those who suffer from opioid use disorder ‘them’, like they don’t want ‘them’, they don’t want to treat ‘them’ in their practice.” Stigma, coupled with low reimbursement rates and fears of DEA response to increased dispensing, has limited the potential of the MAT Act. DEA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) have been working to educate the public on the effectiveness and the policy surrounding medication for opioid use disorder. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf also spoke at the Summit, focusing on the big steps the agency has taken in the last year, including opioid reversal approvals, expanding access in retail pharmacies, innovative technologies, and treatments.

Articles & Resources

Rx and Illicit Drug Summit

What We Read Last Week

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

Government of Canada—Statement from the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health on the Overdose Crisis

KFF Health News—Track Opioid Settlement Payouts—To the Cent—In Your Community

KFF Health News—More Kids Are Dying of Drug Overdoses. Could Pediatricians Do More to Help?

NPR—Mental health care is hard to find, especially for people with Medicare or Medicaid

Sagely Speaking with Mary Bono—Bill Bodner, Retired DEA Executive

Star Tribune—Amid opioid epidemic, Minnesotans of color have died of overdoses at disproportionately high rates

USA Today—Clean syringes seem counterintuitive to fentanyl fight. But needle exchange saves lives.

Washington Post—Scientist urge FDA to rescind approval of test for opioid addiction risk

Wisconsin Public Radio—Testing for ‘tranq’ in opioids now legal in Wisconsin


This Week’s Calendar

In the week ahead, there are no relevant events or hearings noticed at this time. In the event that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

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