Addressing the opioid problem is one of the APA's major objectives

The APA continues to work to elevate and advance the Council of Representatives' strategic initiatives, which were adopted earlier this year. Using psychology to have a beneficial impact on crucial societal challenges is one of the focuses.

12/21/20222 min read

The opioid epidemic, which affects millions of Americans, is one of the most important crises confronting our society today. If psychology is not a big component in this issue, I am confident that the solutions employed will be ineffective.

That is why we are focusing on the opioid issue as one of our first major endeavors to have an impact. Internally, we're working on a strategy for how psychology might effectively combat this epidemic, based on our field's particular contributions. We'll be gathering specialists from throughout the association in the coming months to help us inform and design a plan of action that we'll share with the Council, Board of Directors, and other areas of the organization.

One of the main goals of this project will be to educate policymakers and the general public about the unique and critical role that psychology must play in combating the opioid epidemic. This includes making sure patients understand that the best evidence on treating opioid addiction recommends combining medication with psychosocial therapies.

In evidence before the Committee on Oversight and Reform of the United States House of Representatives, I underlined that same issue. My remarks emphasized the need of addressing behavioral health issues as a "whole person" problem, and I advocated for the federal response to the opioid epidemic to include psychosocial therapies and increased access to the wide variety of resources needed for long-term rehabilitation. I also discussed the critical role that evidence-based psychological therapy may play as part of a nonpharmacological approach to pain management, assisting in the prevention of opiate dependence in the first place.

This work is part of a larger effort to shape the public's perception of psychology and to promote awareness of psychology's various applicability to pressing societal challenges. We intend to be even more deliberate in the future in ensuring that the impact psychology has on critical societal issues is more understood and recognized by legislators and the general public.

We will use new techniques to position APA's work to have an even bigger effect as we tackle these and other priorities.

Thank you for your participation and support as we work together to achieve our strategic goals. I'm really looking forward to where we're going

Note: The information in this post represents a glimpse of some of the most recent work on the APA's strategic plan as of the date of publication. This piece is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of this work; rather, it is intended to provide insight into some of the top-level issues that have emerged through discussions with members, particularly governance leaders. Your suggestions can be sent to at any time.