People of every geographic region, age, demographic, gender and socioeconomic status have been hit hard by the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic. That’s why Choices Matter teamed up with The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to bring together a diverse group of more than 35 leading individuals and organizations for the “Summit for Solutions” event on October 10 in Washington, D.C. The goal of this event was to reveal new data on opioid prescribing trends, gain insights and perspectives on ways we can better engage and educate key stakeholders, and determine how our shared missions to minimize opioid exposure could help in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

The half-day summit including presentations by Dr. Regina Benjamin, 18th Surgeon General of the U.S., Dr. Cece Spitznas, Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Dr. Paul Sethi, board-certified orthopedic surgeon. The summit also included a panel discussion featuring Dr. Paul Sethi; Grant Hill, NBA Hall of Famer and Choices Matter spokesperson; Fred Muench, CEO of The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids; Kim Robbins, peer recovery coach and U.S. veteran in recovery and Jim Moser, founder of the Zero Left Campaign. The event concluded with a group discussion which empowered the audience, including groups such as The Kennedy Forum, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), National Center on Addiction, DARE, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and American Society of Enhanced Recovery (ASER), to share their respective stories and barriers to combatting the opioid crisis.

The event also provided an exclusive first-look at new data related to opioid prescribing following surgery. The report, Exposing a Silent Gateway to Persistent Opioid Use, revealed how the surgical setting has become an inadvertent gateway to long-term opioid use, and shed light on those most at risk from exposure to these powerful medications. Findings from the new national report suggest that, despite ongoing efforts to end America’s opioid crisis, patients continue to receive large amounts of opioids to treat postsurgical pain. Of note, patients received nearly 100 to 200 opioid pills to help manage pain from four common procedures ranging from rotator cuff repair and hip replacement to knee replacement and sleeve gastrectomy. The report also found that 18 percent of millennials (18-34 years old) reported becoming addicted to or dependent on opioids following surgery. Dr. Sethi provided the audience with a topline summary of the data, which was also referenced during the group discussion.

While “Summit for Solutions” helped to bring together groups from around the nation who are committed to ending the opioid crisis, there is still more work to be done to mitigate this epidemic. To help Choices Matter take a stand against opioid overprescribing, pledge to talk with your doctor about non-opioid options for pain management.