The Opioid National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA) Caucus

The Opioid Crisis and Health Disparities

Opioid misuse is a serious public health issue and the United States (U.S.) is confronting an opioid overdose epidemic. Opioids (including prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl) killed more than 42,000 people in 2016, more than any year on record. 40 percent of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. The epidemic of drug overdoses, often perceived as largely a white rural issue, has recently surged in communities of color, particularly in urban counties. In 2016, the drug death rate rose most steeply among blacks in urban counties.  

Federal Response to the Opioid Epidemic

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice, Veterans Affairs, and Defense coordinate federal efforts to address the opioid epidemic and to identify opportunities for additional collaboration between government and external stakeholders.

In response to the opioid crisis, HHS is focusing its efforts on five major priorities:
  1. Better addiction prevention, treatment and recovery services 
  2. Better targeting of overdose reversing drugs 
  3. Better data 
  4. Better pain management 
  5. Better research
The Opioid NPA Caucus: Purpose and Aims

Purpose: The National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA) was established to work towards eliminating health disparities and moving the nation towards health equity, using a multi-level, multi-sectoral approach that addresses the social determinants of health. The opioid epidemic is an emerging threat to our communities and it greatly hinders our ability to achieve health equity goals. The NPA has responded by launching the Opioid NPA Caucus.

Aims: The Opioid NPA Caucus aims to foster collaboration, learning, and action across Regional Health Equity Councils (RHECs) to combat the opioid epidemic. Working with the Federal Interagency Health Team (FIHET), the Caucus also aims to advance regional-federal partnerships to address the opioid crisis. The Caucus will achieve these aims through virtual learning (e.g., webinars), data sharing, and the dissemination of publications that increase awareness and understanding of the opioid epidemic and promising approaches to address it, with a focus as it relates to minority communities.

Publications and Resources 

Data & Statistics: 
U.S. Opioid Epidemic: Data Overview 
Drug Overdose Death Data 
U.S. Prescribing Rate Maps 
CDC One-Stop Location for Online Public Health Data 
Vital Signs March 2018: Opioid Overdoses Treated in Emergency Departments 
Prescription Painkiller Overdoses 

Resources for States and Regions: 
What States Need to Know About the Epidemic 
HHS, SAMHSA to maintain funding formula for $1B opioid grant program 
2017 State Profiles Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction 

Facts and Recommendations for State, Local, and Tribal Governments 

Resources for Providers: 

Awareness and Campaigns: 

Journal Articles: 
Seth P, Rudd R, Noonan, R, Haegerich, T. Quantifying the Epidemic of Prescription Opioid Overdose Deaths. American Journal of Public Health, March 2018;108(4),e1-e3. DOI:/10.2105/AJPH.2017.304265 

Houry DE, Haegerich TM, Vivolo-Kantor A. Opportunities for Prevention and Intervention of Opioid Overdose in the Emergency Department. Annals of Emergency Medicine. Published Online: March 6, 2018 (doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2018.01.052. 

Guy G, Pasalic E, Zhang K. Emergency department visits involving opioid overdoses – United States, 2010-2014. AJPM. Published online December 15, 2017. DOI: j.amepre.2017.09.003 

Dowell D, Noonan RK, Houry D. Underlying factors in drug overdose deaths. JAMA. Published online October 11, 2017. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2017.15971 

Dowell D, Arias E, Kochanek K, Anderson R, Guy GP, Losby J, Baldwin G. Contribution of Opioid-Involved Poisoning to the Change in Life Expectancy in the United States, 2000-2015. JAMA. 2017;318(11):1065-1067. DOI:10.1001/jama.2017.9308 

Dowell D, Haegerich TM. Changing the Conversation About Opioid Tapering. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 18 July 2017] DOI: 10.7326/M17-1402. 

Losby JL, Hyatt JD, Kanter MH, Baldwin G, Matsuoka D. Safer and more appropriate opioid prescribing: a large healthcare system’s comprehensive approach. J Eval Clin Pract. 2017;1–7. DOI: 10.1111/jep.12756. 

Schuchat A, Houry DE, Gery Jr GP. New data on opioid use and prescribing in the United States. JAMA Viewpoint 2017;318(7):1-2. 

Baird J, Faul M, Green TC, Howland J, Adams CA, George A, Mello MJ. A retrospective review of unintentional opioid overdose risk and mitigating factors among acutely injured trauma patients. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 13 June 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.04.030. 

Faul M, Lurie P, Kinsman JM, Dailey MW, Crabaugh C, Sasser SM. Multiple Naloxone Administrations Among Emergency Medical Service Providers is Increasing. Prehospital Emergency Care, May 2017. DOI: 10.1080/10903127.2017.1315203. 

Mercado MC, Sumner SA, Spelke MB, Bohm MK, Sugerman DE, Stanley C. Increase in Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Fentanyl—Rhode Island, January 2012–March 2014. Pain Med 2017 pnx015. DOI: 10.1093/pm/pnx015. 

Jones CM, Baldwin GT, Compton WM. Recent Increases in Cocaine-Related Overdose Deaths and the Role of Opioids. American Journal of Public Health, March 2017, Vol. 107, No. 3, pp. 430-432. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303627.

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