There may be just about as many approaches to battling the opioid crisis as there are organizations committed to the fight—but now APTA and more than 100 other groups will be sharing experiences and learning from each other by way of a collaborative effort led by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).
The exchange of information is being managed through NAM's Action Collaborative on Countering the US Opioid Epidemic. The group includes community organizations, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, health professional societies, private insurers, and academia, all of which have committed to sharing their work and goals to counter the opioid epidemic through efforts that address prescribing guidelines, prevention, treatment, research, policies,and data, among other areas. Along with APTA, the more than 100 participants include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Pharmacists Association, Kaiser Permanente, and the Mayo Clinic.
APTA has plenty to share. In addition to its award-winning #ChoosePT opioid awareness campaign, the association produced a white paper, hosted a Facebook Live event, sponsored a media tour, and helped to develop a crossdisciplinary "playbook" on opioid stewardship—and that was just in 2018. APTA's efforts date back to 2016, when it unveiled #ChoosePT as the official campaign to educate the public on physical therapy as an effective nonopioid and nondrug option in the treatment of chronic pain.
In APTA's statement of commitment to the collaborative, the association writes that "physical therapy providers intimately know that physical activity reduces risk of chronic conditions, many of which include pain," adding that "pain is personal, and treating it takes teamwork, including the membership and empowerment of the person being treated."
"It is imperative in the fight against the opioid epidemic that everyone plays a role in not only the successful treatment of pain but the culture of pain," said Hadiya Green Guerrero, PT, DPT, APTA senior practice specialist. "Care providers must commit to utilizing each other’s expertise, including in the areas of educational and interprofessional training. APTA is eager to bring its perspective on preventing and treating pain to the table, and to learn from so many other organizations that share our commitment to ending the devastation of opioid misuse and addiction."
NAM President Victor Dzau agrees that collaboration is the key to making a real difference.
"Reversing the opioid epidemic requires a multi-sectoral response—no organization, agency, or sector can solve this problem on its own," Dzau said in an NAM press release. "We are thrilled to see such a robust commitment from organizations across the country in joining us to be part of the solution."
This isn't APTA's only connection with NAM—the association is also a member of the Academy's Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience.