by Carolyn Noel, PAINS Webmaster

Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), spoke to a meeting of the Pain Care Forum yesterday. He shared some of the key priorities for the coming year and answered questions from the group.

One of the key priorities they are looking at is the next phase of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) and how they can continue to advance technology. Currently, thirty states can share data across state lines. They would like to see some sort of national structure to encourage this. They are seeing some promising results in a reduction in doctor shopping activity in Tennessee, Florida, and New York. Florida also saw a reduction in oxycodone overdoses.

The ONDCP is also focusing attention on the overdose issue as well as infections of viral hepatitis and HIV due to injecting either pain medications or heroine. A lot of work is being done around overdose prevention by encouraging co-prescribing Naloxone with opioids and improving access to care.

Misuse of prescription medication is down among adults, but heroin use and abuse has increased. Addiction is a progressive illness where people move from one drug to another, usually based on economics and availability. “We need to take a closer look at the circumstances of the overdose…Who is overdosing? What efforts were made toward prevention? Where have we missed opportunities?,” said Botticelli.

Some of the key budget priority areas focus on the need for highly effective therapies to treat abuse and the shortage of trained physicians. The ONDCP is also working together with HHS regarding federal guidelines for prescribing and also sees proper disposal of prescription medications as an area for collaboration.