AMSUS Thought Leadership Forum generates meaningful discussion and highlights the importance of continued discussions to reduce opioid overdoses
At the AMSUS Thought Leadership Forum “Protecting Patients and Individuals Against Opioid Overdose and its Associated Costs to Our Healthcare Systems,” 01 November 2022 in Washington, D.C., federal health leaders and industry subject matter experts came together for an afternoon of meaningful and productive discussion on efforts to reduce opioid overdoses.
Federal health leaders discussed military and Veterans health programs in place and ongoing improvement efforts to identify patients at risk and to educate patients and their families about the benefits of keeping naloxone on hand to prevent fatal overdoses. Industry subject matter experts presented on opioid overdose-related topics ranging from a study finding only 9% of at-risk patients in civilian healthcare received a naloxone prescription, the need for clinicians to change their mindset to recognize opioid abuse is a disease and not a character flaw, and the important role data has at every level of government to address this crisis.
Together, panelists identified obstacles that need to be tackled to reduce opioid overdoses. A recurring theme was the need for clinicians to reframe their interactions with patients to help reduce the stigma surrounding opioid use and increase the understanding of why it is important to fill their naloxone prescription; the need for follow-up with patients who have been prescribed opioids in an emergency department setting; and why the lack of support for patients tapering off opioids when they are most vulnerable is contributing to the start of illicit opioid use. Discussion also focused on how social determinants of health negatively impact patients already at risk for opioid overdose, and how conflicting laws in the U.S. create policies that contribute to the problem.
AMSUS would like to thank our panelists who made this event so valuable: MG Rich Stone, MC USA (ret), Former Acting Under Secretary for Health, US Department of Veterans Affairs; Friedhelm Sandbrink, MD, Executive Director for the National Pain Management, Opioid Safety, and Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, US Department of Veterans Affairs; Paul Cordts, MD, Deputy Assistant Director for Medical Affairs, Defense Health Agency; Harold Gelfand MD, FASA, CAPT, MC, USN, Director, Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Gay Owens, PharmD, MBA, Sr Director Global Medical Affairs, Emergent Biosolutions; Don Stader, MD FACEP, Executive Director, The Naloxone Project and President, Stader Opioid Consultants; Steve Kearney, PharmD, Global Medical Director, SAS Health Solutions; and MG Patrick Sargent, USA (ret), Senior Vice President and General Manager, Oracle Cerner.