ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores applauded President Donald Trump’s new program to combat the drug abuse epidemic, dubbed “Stop Opioids Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand.”
Announced by yesterday, the Stop Opioids Abuse plan targets what the White House said are key drivers of the opioid abuse crisis, including over-prescription; illicit drug supplies; and insufficient access to evidence-based treatment, primary prevention,and recovery support services.
To that end, the program aims to cut the demand for these drugs through through education, awareness and tighter measures to control prescriptions; impede the flow of illicit drugs across U.S. borders and in communities; and save lives by expanding opportunities for proven treatments for opioid and other drug addictions.
“NACDS commends President Trump’s leadership, and that of bipartisan members of Congress, in working toward more comprehensive policies to address the opioid abuse epidemic,” NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement. “Key elements of President Trump’s plan, and legislative proposals under consideration in Congress, are consistent with NACDS’ policy recommendations. These recommendations are based on pharmacists’ experiences on the front lines of health care delivery.”
On the pharmacy side, the Stop Opioids Abuse initiative includes a “Safer Prescribing Plan” to cut national opioid prescription fills by a third within three years. The plan also aims to ensure that 75% of opioid prescriptions reimbursed by federal health care programs are issued using best practices within three years (rising to 95% within five years); have at least half of all federally employed health providers adopt best practices for opioid prescribing within two years (climbing to 100% within five years); and leverage federal funding opportunities related to opioids to ensure that states transition to a nationally interoperable prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) network.
“NACDS urges policies related to accelerating electronic prescribing, limiting initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain, a nationwide prescription drug monitoring program and drug disposal,” Anderson noted. “Our policy recommendations in these areas build on pharmacy’s long-standing work in the areas of compliance programs, helping to pioneer and advance electronic prescribing, fostering safe prescription drug disposal, patient education, security initiatives, promoting naloxone access, stopping illegal online drug sellers and rogue clinics, and more.”
In addition, Stop Opioids Abuse effort aims to ensure first responders are supplied with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone and to leverage federal funding opportunities to state and local jurisdictions to improve nationwide overdose tracking systems that will help resources be rapidly deployed to hard-hit areas.
The president’s proposed federal budget requests $3 billion in new funding in 2018 and $10 billion in 2019 for the Department of Health and Human Services to fight the opioid epidemic by expanding access to prevention, treatment and recovery support services. The funding would also go toward addressing mental health concerns.
“NACDS has valued the opportunity to engage on this issue consistently with the Trump administration and with bipartisan congressional leaders. Earlier this month, NACDS members from all 50 states traveled to Washington, D.C., and reached every Senate and House of Representatives office with our recommendations on opioid policies,” Anderson added. “This engagement in the national policy discussion reflects pharmacy’s long-standing and ongoing commitment to serve as part of the solution on this issue. We look forward to continuing to advocate for policies that will prove effective in improving the health and safety of individuals, of families, and of the communities served by NACDS members.”