Abstract [from journal]
Drug overdose deaths involving opioids have surged in recent years and the economic cost of the opioid epidemic is estimated to be over $500 billion annually. In the midst of calls for declaring a national emergency, health policy decision makers are considering the best ways to allocate resources to curb the epidemic. On June 9, 2017, 116 invited health researchers, clinicians, policymakers, health system leaders, and other stakeholders met at the University of Pennsylvania to discuss approaches to address the gaps in evidence-based substance use disorder policy and practice, with an emphasis on the opioid epidemic. The conference was sponsored by the Center for Health Economics of Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorder, HCV, and HIV (CHERISH), a NIDA-funded National Center of Excellence, and hosted by the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics of the University of Pennsylvania. The conference aims were to: (1) foster new relationships between researchers and policymakers through a collaborative work process and (2) generate evidence-based policy recommendations to address the opioid epidemic. The conference concluded with an interactive work session during which attendees self-identified as researchers or policymakers and were divided equally among 13 tables. These groups met to develop and present policy recommendations based on an opioid use disorder case study. Thirteen policy recommendations emerged across four themes: (1) quality of treatment, (2) continuity of care, (3) opioid prescribing and pain management, and (4) consumer engagement. This conference serves as a proposed model to develop equitable, working relationships among researchers, clinicians, and policymakers.