Trump's opioid panel issues final report: 5 things to know

Brian Zimmerman - Print  | 

President Donald Trump's opioid commission released its final report Wednesday, detailing additional recommendations on how the federal government can address the nation's ongoing opioid overdose crisis.

Here are five things to know about the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis' report.

1. The commission's report issued more than 50 recommendations, including recommendations to increase access to addiction treatment services, expand the availability of medication-assisted treatment for opioid misuse and increase first-responder access to the lifesaving opioid overdose antidote naloxone. The commission also called on both the federal government and private insurers to expand coverage for pain treatment services such as physical therapy, counseling and non-opioid pain medications.

2. Additional recommendations made by the commission include requiring prescribers seeking new licenses to complete an education program on opioid prescribing, eliminating pain questions from CMS' patient satisfaction surveys and establishing drug courts in all federal judicial districts that will help those with opioid addiction avoid jail time in favor of addiction treatment. The commission also recommended expanding prescription drug monitoring and bolstering funds for research into addiction treatment, according to STAT.

3. The commission acknowledged a lack funding as the primary impediment to achieving some of its recommendations, but did not detail from where these funds should be allocated. While the commission did not name a specific dollar amount with regards to funding, it did make specific recommendations with regards to how money to address the crisis should be disseminated to states. The commission said currently fragmented federal funds for addiction and prevention services should be streamlined into block grants, which would allow states to file a single application for funds rather than several to multiple agencies, according to The New York Times.

4. Some public health experts said the commission should have identified a specific amount of funding needed to address the crisis, while others said such a task was not the job of the commission, according to Politico.

5. The commission's report comes nearly a week after President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. While the declaration enables HHS to take certain actions to address the crisis, such as expanding access to addiction treatment services via telemedicine, it does not produce any significant additional funding to back efforts to curb opioid overdoses.

Note: This article was updated Nov. 2 to include more details from the presidential opioid commission's official report.

More articles on opioids: 
Fentanyl linked to more than 50% of opioid overdoses in 10 states 
McKesson sends letter to president's opioid commission urging 2 specific actions 
Ohio county files opioid lawsuit against drugmakers, distributors

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