Health officials have made a promise to develop drugs that will suppress the opioid epidemic.
“Every day, they noted in the journal article, 90 Americans die of opioid overdoses despite the widespread availability of naloxone, which counteracts opioid’s life-threatening effects.” (Bernstein, 2017, n.p.). According to one of the charts provided by, author of the article, Lenny Bernstein, a good chunk of motor vehicle accidents result from opioid overdoses and/or involvement. If addicts do recover, it is more likely than not that they will relapse.
“Top federal health officials said Wednesday that they will launch a joint effort with pharmaceutical companies to accelerate the development of drugs aimed at helping to curb the U.S. opioid epidemic.” (Bernstein, 2017, n.p.). Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Nora D. Volkow, who heads one of its components, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), announced their public-private partnership with pharmaceutical companies across the country in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine and in a briefing for reporters.
“We are very much committed to bringing all hands on deck to address what is clearly a major public health crisis in our society,” said Collins.” (Bernstein, 2017, n.p.). The goal is to bring three types of drugs to the market, such as, non addictive medications for chronic pain, better treatments for opioid addiction, and improved methods of reversing opioid overdoses. The newly established partnership is aiming towards cutting the development time in comparison to various new therapies.
There are medications that tone down the strong desire for continuous usage of opioids but, there is much more to battle than just that. “Of the three goals, development of a non addictive but effective analgesic for severe and chronic pain would have the most far-reaching effect” (Bernstein, 2017, n.p.). Volkow mentions that NIH can do their part by conducting research on newly founded cellular pathways for pain signaling and its relief. Collins and Volkow also thought about developing a drug that binds to opioid receptors in the brain which kills the pain but, does not create elation or suppress breathing.
“The medical community had no idea how addictive the drugs were or how little effect they have on chronic pain” (Bernstein, 2017, n.p.), Collins said. For years this issue went unnoticed and ignored. The past two years has seen a dramatic change, as the effort to develop a non addictive opioid has skyrocketed.
The public-private partnership model was inspired by NIH’s Accelerating Medicines Partnership, a three year old project that tries to find new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Both, Federal Health Officials and Pharmaceutical companies contribute funding to the opioid project. NIH held workshops with officials from drug companies in the hopes of having some early results as soon as two or three years from now. (Bernstein, 2017)
For more information on this topic please read “Health officials vow.”
Bernstein, L. (2017, May 31). Health officials vow to develop drugs to curb the opioid epidemic. Retrieved June 01, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/05/31/health-officials-vow-to-develop-drugs-to-curb-the-opioid-epidemic/?utm_term=.a9164811b7fc