Express Scripts announced Wednesday a new initiative to combat opioid abuse. The Advanced Opioid Management solution aims to address the opioid-addiction epidemic "by working comprehensively with patients, prescribers, and pharmacies to minimize early exposure while helping prevent progression to overuse and abuse," the company said. A recent pilot study of more than 100,000 Express Scripts members new to opioid therapy found a 38% reduction in hospitalizations and a 40% reduction in emergency department visits in the intervention group, compared with the control group, during 6 months of followup. The patients received either an educational letter from the Express Scripts Neuroscience Therapeutic Resource Center (TRC) or no intervention. A subset of patients in the intervention group who had high-risk patterns of opioid use also received a counseling call from a Neuroscience TRC specialist pharmacist. Among these patients, there was a 19% reduction in the day's supply of opioid dispensing over 6 months of followup. Building on the success of the pilot program, Express Scripts added novel opioid management features addressing other points on the care continuum, from safe disposal, to tools for physicians at the point of care and safety checks for dispensing pharmacies. "By focusing across the entire care continuum—from over-prescribing to over-dispensing, and unsafe overutilization of pain medications—we found we can make a significant and meaningful difference in this national epidemic," said Glen Stettin, MD, senior vice president clinical, research and new solutions at Express Scripts.