Lethal doses of heroin, carfentanil, and fentanyl (DEA photo)

GAO: Agencies Need to Improve How They Assess Efforts to Combat Illicit Opioids

A GAO report has found that federal agencies need to improve their efforts to assess how they are combating the spread of illicit opioids.

The report found that agencies make ongoing efforts to stop the spread, and availability, of synthetic, illicit opioids, such as collaborating with foreign governments, sharing information and investigating drug sources at overdose scenes. However, it found that most of the agency strategies to combat opioids do not include outcome or results-orientated measures. Only one in five of the strategies that GAO reviewed included such measures, despite the Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act of 2010, which directs that federal agencies should develop goals and performance indicators.

“Without specific outcome-oriented performance measures, federal agencies will not be able to truly assess whether their respective investments and efforts are helping them to limit the availability of and better respond to the synthetic opioid threat,” said GAO.

The study also found that law enforcement and public health agencies still face challenges with the timeliness, accuracy, and accessibility of the sharing of overdose data.

GAO recommends that CBP should assess volume and risk at each port of entry to determine those with the greatest need for resources and use this information as a basis for staff allocations. It also recommends that ONDCP should review the way that law enforcement and public health agencies share overdose data with one another.

Finally, it recommends that goals and performance indicators should be established for the Heroin Response Strategy, the National Heroin Initiative, DoJ’s Strategy to Combat the Opioid Epidemic and the 360 Strategy.

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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