Late last week, Thomas Frieden, MD, of New York City and former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took the national stage once more, offering a series of official recommendations for ending the U.S. opioid crisis in 2017, the JAMA Network reports.

The official “viewpoint” paper was published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, and was co-authored by Andrew Kolodny, director of opioid policy research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management in Waltham, Massachusetts. The report begins by warning that there are no simple solutions to ending America’s addiction epidemic, but underlines 10 major responses the two public health experts believe the country must take to accelerate progress in ending the crisis.

For those unfamiliar, Frieden led the CDC from 2009 to 2017. As a political appointee, Frieden submitted his resignation to President Trump in January and is working at a global health initiative called Resolve, which aims to reduce and prevent heart disease and stroke across the country. However, as is clear from this latest paper, the former public health czar is still keeping a close eye on the United States’ recent drug addiction epidemic — which is killing more than 33,000 Americans every year.

The paper’s recommendations span everything from creating additional opioid addiction and overdose prevention initiatives, to amping up current treatment and harm reduction programs for current users. In particular, Frieden and Kolodny suggest vastly improving surveillance and reporting of opioid addiction and overdoses across the country. The report also recommends American doctors get even more cautious with their prescribing of prescription painkillers, even fronting the possibility of limiting the amount of synthetic opioids in the nation’s drug supply by raising the price of drugs such as fentanyl in the U.S. health care marketplace. 

The report also champions the expansion of medically assisted treatment options such as methadone and buprenorphine, as well as syringe exchange programs for reducing the spread of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C virus. Frieden and Kolodny also recommended that the FDA accelerate its efforts to help drug manufacturers pursue the approval of an over-the-counter naloxone product, which can help reverse drug overdoses as they happen.

To read all 10 recommendations, which include the experts’ in-depth analysis of the U.S. opioid crisis, click here.