A GAO report has found that the ONDCP, law enforcement agencies and the public health sector need to better assess efforts to combat illicit opioids.
As Congress is currently considering a bill to reauthorize ONDCP, GAO was asked to discuss federal agencies’ specific opioid-related strategies and the extent to which each agency is measuring its performance, and federal agencies’ efforts to enhance collaboration and information-sharing to limit the availability of illicit opioids, ongoing challenges to doing this, and ONDCP’s role in enhancing such collaboration.
It found that federal agencies have documented specific strategies to combat illicit opioids. However, only one of the five strategies GAO reviewed included outcome, or results-oriented measures — largely due to agency perceptions that designing such measures posed challenges. Without specific outcome-oriented performance measures, federal agencies will not be able to truly assess whether their respective investments and efforts are helping them achieve the goals set out in their strategies.
The study also found that while federal law enforcement agencies are increasingly coordinating with the public health sector to share overdose information, both sectors reported ongoing data-sharing obstacles and related challenges with the timeliness, accuracy, and accessibility of overdose data. Embarking on a concerted effort, led by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), to examine and address data-related concerns will enhance agencies’ efforts to understand and respond to the opioid epidemic.