Our expert answers 3 Questions
My work has focused on the causes of the US opioid epidemic and policies to address this crisis. Many supply-side drug policies such as the introduction of an abuse-deterrent version of OxyContin in 2010 and mandatory access prescription drug monitoring programs have unintended consequences of increasing use of illicit drugs. Efforts aimed to expand treatment access to million individuals with substance use disorders may have the greatest potential to reduce morbidity and mortality related to drug misuse.
This is a relatively new area of inquiry as both federal and local governments have implemented various recent responses to this crisis. It is necessary to have multidisciplinary collaborations to create new knowledge and evidence-based policy recommendations in regard to this particular problem and many other healthcare crises. I feel this is an area in which adept application of my expertise can enhance policy decision making and thus improve overall public health.
To inform evidence-based policy, we need to understand the interactive roles of different players in this epidemic, including prescribers, pharmacists, patients, insurers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers. It is important to comprehend how medical providers and patients perceive treatment barriers, internalize financial incentives, and respond to changes in regulations or guidelines.