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Expert panel urges new approaches to curtail US opioid epidemic

Overprescribing of opioids and opioid addiction are serious and growing public health problems in the U.S., and are the focus of a new report by an expert panel, entitled The American Opioid Epidemic: Population Health Implications and Potential Solutions,” from the National Stakeholder Panel, Jefferson College of Population Health, which is published in a special supplement to Population Health Management, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The supplement is available open access on the Population Health Management website.

The report includes sections on key topics related to opioid use and abuse and pain management: “The Evolution of Opioid Use in the United States;” “Unintended Consequences of Postsurgical Pain Management;” “The Case for Multimodal Pain Management for Surgical Patients;” and “Expert Panel Insights.” Coauthors of the report Janice Clarke, RN and Alexis Skoufalos, EdD, Jefferson College of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia, PA), and Richard Scranton, MD, MPH Pacira Pharmaceuticals (Parsippany, NJ), present the panel’s opinions on the role of postsurgical prescribing practices, strategies for optimizing health outcomes, and approaches to improve economic outcomes by managing pain differently.

David Nash, MD, MBA, Editor-in-Chief of Population Health Management and Dean and Dr. Raymond C. and Doris N. Grandon Professor, Jefferson College of Population Health, leads off the supplement with the Editorial “The Unintended Consequences of an Opioid-Centric Approach to Pain Management.” He describes the staggering societal costs of the opioid epidemic in terms of healthcare experiences and lives lost– 46 each day due to overdose — and proposes a proactive approach to solving the problem.

“Opioid addiction has become frequent headline fodder in recent months. It is critically important for healthcare providers, patient advocates, and legislators to work together to tackle this significant public and population health issue,” says Dr. Nash.

The stakeholder meeting and this Supplement were supported by an educational grant from Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to the Jefferson College of Population Health.