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Robert Rosseter
AACN Chief Communications Officer
(202) 463-6930 ext. 231



About the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 850 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. 



AACN Partners with the White House to Educate America's Nurses on Prescription Drug Abuse

Published October 21, 2015

AACN Partners with the White House to Educate 
America's Nurses on Prescription Drug Abuse

Washington, DC, October 21, 2015- The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) joined the Obama Administration and more than 40 other healthcare provider groups to announce new efforts to address the prescription drug abuse and heroin epidemic in the United States. AACN is a committed partner in this work and will be launching a national nursing education initiative among our members and supporting an important public awareness campaign. The severity of this crisis continues to rise, and AACN plans to take a leadership role for the academic nursing community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more Americans die each year from drug overdoses than in motor vehicle accidents, and the majority of those overdoses involve prescription medications.  
The President highlighted these efforts at an event in Charleston, West Virginia this afternoon where he heard directly from individuals and families affected by this epidemic and the healthcare professionals, law enforcement officers, and community leaders working to prevent addiction and respond to its aftermath. AACN members, Sharon K. Mailey, PhD, RN, Director/Chair and Professor, Department of Nursing Education at Shepherd University, and Tara Hulsey, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean and E. Jane Martin Professor, School of Nursing at West Virginia University, attended to hear the President provide his remarks. 
"AACN plans to leverage the knowledge and expertise of our members to help address this national healthcare priority," said AACN President Eileen T. Breslin, PhD, RN, FAAN. "AACN together with our faculty and over 77,000 advanced practice registered nursing students, 2,600 of them specializing in mental health, look forward to partnering with trusted colleagues and building new alliances. We will work to ensure the nursing workforce is well-prepared on best practices to combat this crisis." 
This work stems from conversations with AACN staff and the Administration over the last few weeks. On October 10, 2015, AACN CEO Deborah Trautman, PhD, RN, FAAN spoke with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Acting Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, FAAN about the President's effort to reduce the number of opioid and drug-related deaths and disorders. 
The White House Office of the Press Secretary released their FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Announces Public and Private Sector Efforts to Address Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Use earlier this morning, which mentioned, "The American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Physician Assistant Education Association will share professional guidance and best practices to better educate the next generation of health care workers on opioid misuse and substance use disorders." 
As part of our specific commitment to advancing this work, AACN identified two aspirational goals over the next 24 months, which include:

  • Educating 15,000 nursing students and faculty on opioid prescriber practices and medication-assisted treatments though webinars and conference presentations;
  • Engaging our vast communications network and social media channels to reach 60,000 students, faculty, and stakeholders with information about the provider awareness campaign. 

AACN also agreed to update its position statement on Policy and Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Substance Abuse in the Nursing Education Community, which will include new language about the need for opioid prescriber education.  
For more information on the President's Initiative, click here

Other Resources: 
U.S Department of Health and Human Services (2015). HHS takes strong steps to address opioid-drug related overdose, death and dependence
U.S Department of Health and Human Services (2013). Addressing prescription drug abuse in the United States: Current activities and future opportunities.

CDC's Injury Prevention & Control: Prescription Drug Overdose - Prescription Drug Overdose Data
CDC's Injury Prevention & Control: Prescription Drug Overdose - Understanding the Epidemic