Opioid abuse is a serious public health problem affecting many areas in the United States. Prescription opioids and synthetic fentanyls are responsible for thousands of fatal and non-fatal overdoses annually. Building upon advanced analytical capabilities acquired through other toxicology and clinical chemistry programs and knowledge of public health surveillance systems, environmental and public health laboratories are exploring how they might be able to contribute to the opioids response.
Opioids Biosurveillance Task Force
In recognition of the role public health laboratories play in tackling the opioid epidemic, APHL established an Opioids Biosurveillance Task Force, chaired by Ewa King, PhD. This multi-disciplinary group, comprised of APHL members and Partners, is working collaboratively to design a model opioid biosurveillance program for nonfatal opioid overdoses, develop technical safety and guidance for laboratories, and define and develop the roles of public health laboratories in the area of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.
Opioids Community of Practice
APHL has established an Opioids Community of Practice, a space where government laboratories and their public health partners can meet to discuss issues, concerns, strategies and practices. It is also a place where invited guests with expertise in related areas can present to the group and answer questions. The Community of Practice will become whatever the group determines that it needs to be.