U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell recently announced several new actions the department is taking to combat the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic, including:
- Expanding access to buprenorphine, a medication to treat opioid use disorder;
- Eliminating any potential financial incentive for doctors to prescribe opioids based on patient experience survey questions, and
- Requiring Indian Health Service prescribers and pharmacists to check state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) databases before prescribing or dispensing opioids for pain.
- Launching more than a dozen new scientific studies on opioid misuse and pain treatment and soliciting feedback to improve and expand prescriber education and training programs.