Public health approach to the opioid epidemic

One of my colleagues here at University of Colorado, Dr. Robert Valuck, testified this week before the U.S. Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee on a public health approach to the opioid epidemic.  His testimony is here. In it, he refers to the Colorado Plan to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse, which focuses on 8 key areas:

  • improving surveillance of prescription drug misuse data;
  • strengthening the Colorado Prescription Drug Monitoring Program;
  • educating prescribers and providers;
  • increasing safe disposal to prevent diversion and protect the environment;
  • increasing public awareness;
  • enhancing access and referral to evidence-based, effective treatment;
  • expanding access to the overdose reversal drug Naloxone; and
  • increasing the voice of those who are affected by the epidemic.

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 1.39.52 PMAs reported in November by Princeton economists Angus Deaton, who won the 2015 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, and Anne Case, death rates among middle-aged white Americans are rising
, unlike those in every other age, race and ethnic group–a rise driven not by the big killers like heart disease and diabetes but by an epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abuse: alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids.Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 1.40.10 PM

For more information about addressing the prescription drug epidemic, see the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website dedicated to this issue.


Published by Marion Sills

I am a Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado. I work as a physician in the emergency departments of the Children's Hospital of Colorado and as a health services researcher at the University's Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes (ACCORDS).

2 thoughts on “Public health approach to the opioid epidemic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: