The 2019 National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit—arguably the largest national conference of policymakers, health care professionals and patient advocates—has issued a call for presentations. The summit, at which the AMA and other medical societies have previously presented, will take place April 22–25, 2019, in Atlanta.

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The deadline for all submissions is Aug. 30, and the summit will notify applicants by the end of November regarding whether their submission was accepted or declined. Proposals can focus on advocacy, clinical issues, heroin, law enforcement, prescription drug monitoring programs, third-party payer issues, overdose prevention and treatment, and other areas.

Full details and specific requirements for submitting a proposal can be found on the summit website. If you have any questions, please contact Summit staff Cindy Lackey at [email protected]. AMA staff also can help answer questions.

The AMA last week urged the National Council of Insurance Legislators to focus on increasing access to comprehensive, multidisciplinary pain care—including non-opioid alternatives—as well as increasing access to high-quality, evidence-based care for substance use disorders.

The AMA emphasized that mortality due to illicit fentanyl and heroin have become the main drivers of the epidemic. In addition, there continue to be an increasing number of stories about chronic pain patients being non-consensually tapered off of opioid analgesic therapy, as well as ongoing challenges patients face in accessing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder.

To help address these issues, the AMA emphasized the need for policymakers, physicians and payers to work together to remove barriers, including prior authorization, for MAT and to remove barriers to comprehensive pain care.

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