Stemming Opioid Overdose Deaths: Assessing Providers

The daily death toll of Americans from opioid overdoses is 130 on average and climbing.  Because overdose deaths often involve prescription opioids, questions loom as to health providers’ knowledge and attitudes about opioids and their abuse potential as well as the impact that prescription drug promotions have on their decisionmaking. 

Do Prescription Drug Promotions Influence Providers?

To learn answers to these questions, Westat is conducting the Health Care Professional (HCP) Survey of Professional Prescription Drug Promotion for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The online survey assesses

  • Providers’ opioid information resources
  • Providers’ opinions about professional promotion of prescription drugs
  • Influence promotions have on prescribing practices

The survey will be administered to a nationally representative sample of 2,000 primary care physicians, specialists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. 

Westat’s Research Plan

We will conduct a literature review, cognitive testing of survey questions, a pretest, and the main survey. We will also conduct analysis and reporting and prepare a manuscript for submission to a peer review publication based on the findings of the survey.  

The HCP survey, scheduled to be completed in 2019, includes a module on opioid prescribing and explores providers’ exposure to

  • Drug promotions of non-opioid analgesics
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Opioid reversal agents
  • Frequency of prescribing opioids
  • Beliefs about the addictive potential of abuse- and non-abuse deterrent formulations

Survey’s Intent

The survey will

  • Provide important information on influencers of providers’ prescribing practices
  • Inform FDA’s guidance in helping to reduce opioid prescription overdose deaths

Westat’s research will greatly contribute to stemming the U.S. rise in opioid prescription overdose deaths.

- Simani Price, Ph.D., Westat Associate Director, Public Health & Epidemiology

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