After its last official meeting, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis Nov. 1 released its final report. The 141-page document includes 56 recommendations to the president regarding federal programs and national policies to support opioid addiction prevention, treatment, research, and recovery.
While the report urges Congress and the Administration to “block grant federal funding for opioid-related and [substance use disorder]-related activities to the states” and “provide additional resources to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health, and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to fund research,” the report does not specify how much money should be appropriated, stating, “It is not the commission’s charge to quantify the amount of these resources, so we do not do so in this report.”
Of note are recommendations to develop “a model training program to be disseminated to all levels of medical education (including all prescribers) on screening for substance use and mental health status to identify at risk patients.”
The report also highlights the Medical Education Working Group in Massachusetts, which included participation of the Commonwealth’s four medical schools. After multiple meetings, the working group recommended ten core competencies aimed at enhancing its medical school’s substance use disorder curriculum.
Additional recommendations ask the Department of Health and Human Services to “coordinate the development of a national curriculum and standard of care for opioid prescribers.” The commission also suggests that an expert committee should establish an updated set of guidelines for prescription pain medications to supplement the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.
The commission, chaired by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, was formed as a result of an executive order signed by President Trump in March [See Washington Highlights, March 31]. The main goal of the working group was to “study the scope and effectiveness of the Federal response to drug addiction and the opioid crisis” and issue a comprehensive report by Oct. 1. According to the commission charter, the group will be terminated 30 days after releasing its final report, unless the president acts to extend the commission.