Exploring solutions to the opioid epidemic

opioid summit speakers group
Harvard Chan speakers at the opioid summit included Mary Bassett (top row, third from left), Michael Barnett (bottom row, far left), and Meredith Rosenthal (bottom row, second from left).

Nearly 100 researchers, health professionals, policymakers and community members gathered in Ypsilanti, Michigan on Friday, May 10, 2019 for a daylong summit, cosponsored by Harvard University and the University of Michigan, aimed at finding scalable solutions to the opioid epidemic.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health experts who spoke at the summit included Mary Bassett, director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, who co-chaired the event; health economist Meredith Rosenthal; and health policy expert Michael Barnett.

In a May 13 Harvard Gazette article about the summit, Rosenthal, C. Boyden Gray Professor of Health Economics and Policy, said that pharmaceutical companies often aggressively market their drugs directly to doctors and that regulating this process may be an important way to curb opioid prescribing.

In a May 12 Michigan Daily article, Bassett said she hopes policymakers understand the importance of moving quickly to curb the opioid epidemic. “There are many concepts discussed today that have direct public health implications that can be addressed through better policy,” she said.

The summit, the first of two, is part of a partnership between Harvard and the University of Michigan to tackle social ills. The second summit will be held next October at Harvard.

Read the Harvard Gazette article: Pharma-to-doc marketing a vulnerability in opioid fight

Read the Michigan Daily article: ‘U,’ Harvard talk opioid crisis

photo: Keith Tolman