Resources for understanding the opioid crisis

'A Matter of Facts' from the University of Minnesota Libraries

by Amy Claussen

Image credit: Pills by David Kessler.
Image credit: Pills by David Kessler.

The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis asked the President on July 31 to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.

The commission recommended increased treatment capacity, implementation of prescriber education mandates, and expansion of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs that use behavioral therapy and medications to treat drug abuse disorders. You can read the report and its full recommendations for curbing the opioid overdoses, which result in about 142 deaths each day in the United States.  

President Trump addressed the opioid crisis in an August 8 briefing, but stopped short of declaring a national emergency. Such a declaration would reduce barriers and free up resources to address the crisis, which Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said can be done without an emergency declaration.

At the briefing, President Trump did not present a plan to implement the recommendations made by his commission, but did vow to increase federal drug prosecutions as a means of stifling the opioid crisis. Two days later, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national emergency stating, “The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency.” No implementation policies were provided at the time of the announcement.

This post is intended to provide information on recent news, current research, and reliable information to help you understand the the opioid crisis — including information about what the University of Minnesota is doing to help. 

DHHS Factsheet on Opioids. Click to enlarge.
DHHS Factsheet on Opioids. Click to enlarge.

About the opioid crisis

Center for Disease Control and Prevention figures from 2015 showed that that 12.5 million people misused prescription opioids and over half of the 33,000 opioid deaths were from prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone. Opioid abuse was estimated to have an economic cost of $78.5 billion in 2013.

Chronology of events

Below is a timeline of recent events leading to the declaration of the opioid crisis as a national emergency.

Freely available resources on opioids and the opioid crisis

The University of Minnesota’s Bio-Medical Library is the only Outreach Library in Minnesota, as designated by the National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine/National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NLM/NNLM). Below, outreach librarian Katherine Chew lists some free NIH and NLM resources on opioids and the opioid crisis.

Library resources on opioids

The University of Minnesota Libraries has many clinical health information resources that provide expert-level knowledge on opioid addiction. A few recommended starting places are listed, below. The Health Sciences Libraries Subject Librarians can be consulted for additional in-depth or specialized research.

University of Minnesota research and expertise

Opioid addiction is also being addressed across the University of Minnesota with representation from the schools and colleges that make up the University’s Academic Health Center (AHC).  

Recent news from the AHC has included a letter to the editor by U of M Vice President for Health Sciences, Brooks Jackson, M.D. and a New York Times piece on Breaking the Opioid Habit in Dentist’s Office featuring the work of Dr. Harold Tu, Director of the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the U of M School of Dentistry.

Many U of M researchers are working to end addiction. Several faculty involved in addiction research are featured as part of the U of M Driven to Discover campaign. Additional U of M expertise can be found by searching Experts@Minnesota.

Speak to your health provider if you need help addressing a drug addiction. Boynton Health clinics are open to U of M faculty, staff, and students.

Disclaimer

Never disregard your health care providers advice or treatment because of something found online. Information provided here is not intended to be used as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general information purposes only. You should review all information from these and other sources with your healthcare provider.

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