New Report & Assessment Tool Details Evidence-Based Strategies to Address the Opioid Epidemic

24 Interventions Identified to Combat the Deadly Effects of the Opioid Crisis for State, County & City Implementation


(Oct. 5, 2022) North Bethesda, MD – Today, Addiction Policy Forum (APF) published a new interactive report and assessment tool to support state and local jurisdictions in addressing the opioid epidemic. The APF report, Evidence-Based Interventions to Address the Opioid Epidemic, features 24 evidence-based strategies and programs that state, county, and local policymakers can implement to combat the effects of the opioid crisis and protect communities from the harms of accidental overdose. The report highlights strategies and interventions across children and family services, patient services, systems improvements, and policy changes. The report includes actionable resources, research, model programs, and other information to help policymakers, practitioners, and stakeholders improve practices and policies, institute solutions to the crisis, and bridge the gap between research and practice.


“​To change the trajectory of the opioid epidemic, we must address the gap between science and its application in the field,” said Jessica Hulsey, Executive Director of the Addiction Policy Forum. “Researchers estimate that it takes an average of 17 years for scientific discovery to be adopted in daily practice. This nearly two-decade delay in translating research into practice has horrific consequences when it comes to addiction by creating barriers that affect patient access to evidence-based treatment, harm reduction, primary prevention, and early intervention.”


The project includes a self-assessment tool that is designed to assist jurisdictions in evaluating the status of their current adoption of evidence-based practices and to help determine where to address gaps in efforts to combat the crisis.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 107,622 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2021 -- the highest number ever reported in a 12-month period. With 295 people dying from drug overdoses each day, there is a critical and urgent need to focus on evidence-based strategies that address the substance use disorder epidemic


Through analysis and with input from scientists, researchers, practitioners, and families, Addiction Policy Forum identified 24 evidence-based practices that can be implemented at the state-, county-, and community-levels. The report also spotlights local initiatives that have been implemented to address the opioid crisis, and can be scaled and replicated in communities throughout the country. Support for the report and self-assessment tool was provided by Emergent BioSolutions.


Key recommendations that APF suggests policymakers, practitioners, and stakeholders immediately address include:


  1. Expand Access to Medications for Opioid Use Disorder

  2. Increase Community Naloxone Distribution

  3. Initiate Treatment in Emergency Departments

  4. Medications for Opioid Use Disorder for Individuals in Prison and Jail

  5. Distribute Fentanyl Test Strips

  6. Expanding Support for Mothers with Opioid Use Disorder

  7. Implement Programs for Children Impacted by Parental Substance Use Disorders

  8. Expand Access to Syringe Service Programs

  9. Expand Access to Behavioral Therapies

  10. Expand Addiction Training for Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists

  11. Implement Child Welfare Interventions

  12. Implement Co-Responder and Community Responder Initiatives

  13. Screening for Substance Use Disorders in Pediatric and Primary Care

  14. Implement Diversion Programs across the Criminal Justice Systems

  15. Expand Reentry Services for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders

  16. Screen for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

  17. Implement Student Assistance Programs in Middle and High Schools

  18. Expand Community Prevention Coalitions

  19. Ensure Support Group Access

  20. Recovery Community Organizations

  21. Eliminate Fail First Policies

  22. Implement Co-prescribing of Naloxone with Opioid Prescriptions

  23. Remove Fentanyl Test Strips from Drug Paraphernalia Laws

  24. Eliminate Prior Authorization


A free webinar on Evidence-Based Interventions to Address the Opioid Epidemic will be held on Thursday, October 27, 2022 from 12:00-1:30 p.m. ET. The event will provide an overview of the report and highlight several of the evidence-based program models. Register here.


You can read the report by visiting https://reports.addictionpolicy.org/evidence-based-strategies/. With questions regarding the campaign, please contact Haley Tenney at htenney@addictionpolicy.org.


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About Addiction Policy Forum


Addiction Policy Forum is a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating addiction as a major health problem. Created in 2015 by families impacted by this disease, we lead the fight against the deadly consequences of addiction and help patients, families, and communities affected by addiction. Our strategic priorities are to help patients and families in crisis, end the stigma around addiction, advance prevention, increase the uptake of evidence-based practices, and accelerate research. Our national headquarters are located in North Bethesda, MD with resources and services in every state. More information on our mission and projects is available at our website, www.addictionpolicy.org.