Partnership for Drug-Free Kids today announced the website relaunch of “Search and Rescue,” a prescriber education campaign that gives healthcare providers the resources they need to help prevent the misuse and abuse of medicines in their practices.
The goal of the Partnership’s Search and Rescue campaign, developed with support from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is to equip prescribers to be proactive in identifying and helping patients at risk for prescription drug abuse. Since the campaign’s national launch in September 2016, even greater attention has been brought to the country’s opioid crisis, most recently with the recommendations of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, brought forth last November.
At the revamped searchandrescueusa.org, prescribers will find new tools and resources on how to identify and intervene in prescription drug misuse, abuse and addiction within their practice. One example of a new tool is a guide, created with input from Harvard pediatricians, that prescribers can give to parents, detailing what to ask when their child is prescribed pain relievers.
Additionally, the website includes brief educational videos and connects healthcare providers with a range of vital resources, including relevant Continuing Medical Education courses; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on prescribing opioid medication; and individual state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP), which provides information on patients’ recent prescription history and helps prevent “doctor shopping.”
“The Search and Rescue campaign provides tools and resources that can assist healthcare professionals to appropriately treat their patients’ pain, as well as recognize and manage misuse, abuse and addiction that may occur,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). “Working with the Partnership and other stakeholders to inform prescribers is one of the many ways FDA is working to resolve the nation’s opioid crisis, a top priority for the Trump Administration.”
The “Search and Rescue” campaign was developed by the Partnership in collaboration with the FDA’s CDER; health marketing agency Razorfish Health (part of the Publicis Health network); and a new pro-bono partner, ConnectiveRx, home to Prescription Desk Reference (PDR). The campaign makes innovative use of optimized search and direct email to reach family physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, and in states with the highest opioid prescribing rates.
“We interviewed healthcare providers in a primary care setting to obtain insight into how they currently identify misuse of prescription drugs and what resources and tools would be helpful to them in addressing this issue,” said Courtney Hunter, Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs at Partnership for Drug-Free-Kids. “They were all aware of the scope of the opioid crisis and pointed to the opioid risk assessment featured on the ‘Search and Rescue’ website as a powerful tool to help them identify prescription drug misuse. However, they cited the need for additional resources to help support them in counseling their patients.”
As part of the strategy to reach as many U.S. prescribers as possible through Search and Rescue, the Partnership is also working closely with national organizations, including the American Medical Association Task Force to Reduce Prescription Opioid Abuse, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Providers Clinical Support System and others to introduce the campaign’s materials to their members.
According to the CDC, in 2016, more than 63,600 people died of drug overdoses, and more than 42,200 of those overdose deaths involved opioids.
To help address this crisis, beginning in 2012, the FDA has provided funding and other support under a cooperative agreement with the Partnership to develop and deploy the “Search and Rescue” prescriber education campaign. Following an initial year of formative research, the campaign was piloted in Maryland and Rhode Island in 2014, and then expanded to six states in 2015.
To learn more about the nation’s opioid epidemic, visit https://drugfree.org/heroin-opioid-epidemic.