Health IT Now’s Opioid Safety Alliance

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PRESS RELEASE: Health IT Now Launches Opioid Safety Alliance to Advance Technology-Enabled Solutions to the Opioid Crisis

The Challenge

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 Coalition

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, MedStar Health, 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 Prescription Safety Alert System. A prescription safety alert system, based on standards formulated by the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP), would act as a facilitator; ensuring 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 help to those who need it. 

  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 decisions. 
    • 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).


  1. 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

  2. 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.

    • H.R. 4841, the Standardizing Electronic Prior Authorization for Safe Prescribing Act

Strategy and Next Steps

We have already begun refining our policies, advocating, and building a solid network of allies. The Opioid Safety Alliance will leverage its relationships and membership to solidify its position as the go-to organization in using technology to address opioid abuse. We will raise the visibility of technology solutions through targeted media, including events and well-placed member op-eds. Increased press attention on this issue will serve as a tool for the coalition and its members and will be leveraged in advocacy meetings with Congress and the administration.

Participation and Coalition Activities

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.

How to Join

To join the Opioid Safety Alliance, click here