Commission presents recommendations for curbing the opioid epidemic

August 8, 2017
Medicare Web

The Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis recently presented to President Donald Trump an interim report with recommendations for combatting opioid abuse. The commission was convened this year through an executive order from Trump in response to the opioid epidemic in America.

The report recommends the government take the following actions:

  • Provide funding to facilitate data sharing across state-based prescription drug monitoring programs to ensure providers have easy access to patients’ controlled substance prescription history    
  • Develop a regulation to align HIPAA and patient privacy laws on addiction to ensure providers have access to information substance use disorder history when treating patients
  • Enforce the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act to ensure health plans do not provide less favorable benefits to patients with mental health or substance use disorders
  • Mandate prescriber education and training on the risks of a substance use disorder when being treated with opioids


  • Establish and fund a federal effort to increase access to Medication-Assisted Treatment, which can reduce overdose deaths
  • Allow states to dispense naloxone, which reverses overdoses, with standing orders, require that naloxone be prescribed to patients with a high-risk opioid prescription, and equip al law enforcement personnel with naloxone
  • Increase treatment capacity by eliminating treatment barriers, including Medicaid’s Institutes for Mental Diseases exclusion, which prohibits Medicaid from reimbursing for services at an inpatient facility treating mental health conditions that has more than 16 beds
  • Provide funding and manpower to develop better methods of detecting fentanyl 

The report pointed out that according to recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, 142 Americans die from a drug overdose every day. In 2015, nearly two thirds of all overdoses in America were linked to opioid abuse.

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