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Keith Humphreys sitting

Message from Commission Chairman Dr. Keith Humphreys

"The Stanford-Lancet Commission on the North American Opioid Crisis was formed in response to the soaring opioid-related morbidity and mortality that the United States and Canada have experienced over the past 25 years. The Commission is supported by Stanford University and brings together diverse Stanford scholars with other leading experts around the USA and Canada with the goal of understanding the opioid crisis and proposing solutions to it domestically while attempting to stop its spread internationally."

Key Conclusions of the Commission (See the Recommendations section for details)

  1. The profit motives of actors inside and outside of the health care system will repeatedly generate harmful over-provision of addictive pharmaceuticals unless regulatory systems are fundamentally reformed.
  2. Opioids are both a benefit and a risk to health, function, and well-being. Opioids’ dual nature should be taken into account in drug regulation, prescribing, and opioid stewardship.
  3. Integrated, evidence-based, enduring systems for the care of substance use disorders should be built and supported financially on a permanent basis.
  4. Policies are available that maximize the benefit and minimize the adverse effects of criminal justice system involvement with people who are addicted to opioids.
  5. Fostering healthier environments (e.g., through programs for safe disposal of opioid pills, substance use prevention, and childhood enrichment) may yield long-term declines in the incidence of addiction.
  6. Innovation – in biomedical research on pain relievers and medications for opioid use disorder treatment, supply control strategy, and delivery of substance use disorder treatment – is urgently needed in response to the opioid crisis.
  7. Developed nations should prevent their opioid manufacturers from promoting overprescribing in other countries. Developed nations should also provide generic morphine to low-income nations to ensure adequate pain and palliative care.

Commission Contact:

Keith Humphreys, Ph.D.
Esther Ting Memorial Professor
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Stanford University School of Medicine
401 Quarry Road, Mail Code 5717
Stanford, CA 94305

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