Abstract for: Reducing Opioid Use Disorder and Overdose Deaths in the United States

We present a portfolio of our system dynamics projects over the last four years. We have engaged collaboratively with FDA to develop models focused on reducing opioid use disorder (OUD) and fatal opioid overdoses, which killed 80,000 people in the US in the past year. Our first project resulted in SOURCE, a highly quantitative and sophisticated national-level model. This was followed by several cost-effectiveness and empirical data analyses. We are currently working on a conceptual model of treatment for OUD, including interviewing stakeholders and organizing GMB workshops. In another project, we work with CDC to engage communities to learn the factors driving recent rises in overdoses in Massachusetts and South Dakota, where the infrastructure, populations, and drugs of concern differ dramatically. We aim to extend our research and work with local healthcare systems to increase the use of medications to treat OUD. A common theme across all our work is the challenge of staying abreast of a rapidly-changing situation on the ground combined with stigma surrounding OUD, which places barriers at multiple levels, preventing people from taking advantage of various tools that could save their lives. We will discuss an overview of our efforts and challenges, particularly how our approach to engaging government agencies has changed as we have learned the limits of collaborations but also have taken advantage of the opportunity to explore ideas that might not have been funded otherwise.