Evidence-based Approaches to Address the Opioid Epidemic


Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

The Duke-Margolis Center is committed to leveraging its deep policy expertise, research capabilities, and partnerships with public and private stakeholders to develop practical, evidence-based health system approaches to address the opioid crisis.  The Center is partnering with the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lead a number of workshops and research projects that support the agency’s priorities for enhancing safe and appropriate prescribing of opioid analgesics and improving access to medications for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.  Duke-Margolis is also actively engaging health system leaders, payers, patients, and experts to advance policy to:

  • Develop payment and delivery approaches to improve coordination of non-opioid pain management and high-quality SUD treatment
  • Support evidence-based prevention strategies as part of a comprehensive, patient-centered approach to care
  • Identify and address gaps in access to SUD treatment throughout the care continuum and recommend approaches to address opioid-related issues in vulnerable populations
  • Leverage data to inform and evaluate policy approaches


Recent Work

In support of the FDA efforts to reduce the growing epidemic of opioid abuse, dependence, and overdose in the United States, Duke-Margolis hosted a private workshop exploring whether innovative packaging, storage, and disposal solutions could enhance opioid safety by preventing or deterring misuse, abuse, or inappropriate access to prescription opioids.

Supported by a cooperative agreement with FDA, this landscape review and public meeting examined health system interventions and tools being utilized by policymakers, health systems, payers, and pharmacy benefit managers to ensure that opioids are being safely and appropriately prescribed.  These interventions include utilization of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), screening and risk-assessment tools, prescribing guidelines, and health system and PBM strategies to manage opioid access and improve patient safety by reducing the risk of adverse events such as aberrant drug behavior, opioid use disorders, or overdose.    

  • Healthcare Leadership Council Opioid Crisis Solutions Summit (May 14, 2018)

In partnership with the Healthcare Leadership Council’s National Dialogue for Healthcare Innovation, the Opioid Crisis Solutions Summit brought together leaders from healthcare, government, business, academia and the patient advocacy community to build consensus around workable solutions for addressing the opioid crisis.

  • Developing a Research Agenda for Addressing the Opioid Epidemic in North Carolina  (May 16, 2018)

Experts from the Duke-Margolis joined the North Carolina Department of Health and Humans Services, UNC Injury Prevention Research Center , the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences  Institute, the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and other leaders from the public and private sector to advance the North Carolina Opioid Action Plan’s recommendation to establish an “opioid research consortium and research agenda.”

Supported by a cooperative agreement with FDA, this workshop brought providers and health system stakeholders together to examine the armamentarium of therapies to treat opioid use disorder, current barriers to appropriate use of these medications, and opportunities to further reduce stigma and expand access to effective pharmacotherapies as part of an evidence-based approach to OUD treatment.