HITN's Opioid Safety Alliance for 2018


The opioid crisis is a national health emergency impacting every community and every socio- economic and demographic group. Deaths from opioid abuse continue to rise, and the resulting costs to society and individuals are staggering:

  • More than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016 – that’s an average of more than 175 people per day over the course of the year (NIDA, 2017)

  • 3 million Americans abuse prescription opioids every month (NSDUH, 2014).

  • Prescription opioid overdose, abuse, and dependence cost more than $78 billion (Altarum, 2017).


The Opioid Safety Alliance, a Health IT Now initiative, is a coalition of prescribers, dispensers, manufacturers, professional societies, and patients that advocate for the use of technology to fight illegitimate opioid use, abuse, and addiction.

Members include the Association of Behavioral Health and Wellness, Brain Injury Association of America, Centerstone, Chapman University School of Pharmacy, CoverMyMeds, eRx Network, IBM, Intermountain Healthcare, McKesson, National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, Netsmart, Oracle, RelayHealth, and Walgreens

We support actionable legislative and regulatory policy solutions to address the opioid crisis by arming healthcare professionals and their patients with real-time information about potential medication overuse and abuse, as well as modern strategies for treating addiction.


1. Enact a Facilitator Model for Patient Safety. The Facilitator Model for Patient Safety, formulated by the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP), would ensure that information flowing to providers, pharmacists and state databases is easily-accessible, secure, and available real- time – even when a patient attempts to fill a prescription across state lines. Clinicians will be able to use this information to get those who need help the help they

  • Pass S. 778/H.R. 1854, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act (Klobuchar/Portman & Jenkins/Ryan 115th).

2. Support funding to upgrade PDMP technology. Appropriate, secure, system-wide access to actionable information will allow prescribers and dispensers a more comprehensive view of prescribing and dispensing patterns and inform their clinical decision

  • Advocate in support of the recommendations of the President’s Commission. 

3. Expand clinician access to substance use disorder treatment information. Treatment success depends on access to a patient’s complete health and medication information, including substance abuse history. Under current law (42 CFR part 2), electronic access to this information is unnecessarily restrictive and hinders informed decision

  • Pass H.R. 3545, the Overdose Prevention Patient Safety Act (Mullin/Blumenauer 115th).
  • Pass S. 1850, the Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act (Manchin/Capito 115th).

4. Expand Treatment Options. Telehealth and digital virtual peer support programs should be fully leveraged to provide substance use disorder treatment options. Congress should reimburse innovative care delivery models, and the administration should knock down regulatory barriers to providing treatment

5. Test Emerging Technologies. Emerging technologies and standards have shown promise in other sectors in securing the supply chain. Congress and the administration should explore options to use emerging technologies to better secure the opioid supply


Organizations can join the Opioid Safety Alliance and support technology solutions to address the opioid crisis without joining Health IT Now.

  • Coalition members can join our advocacy opportunities with Congress and the executive branch, participate in high visibility educational events and briefings, as well as the ongoing Opioid Safety Alliance media strategy.
  • In addition to in-person events, members are also entitled to weekly email updates, monthly tactical meetings or conference calls, and branding inclusion for print and digital media.