As director of The Pew Charitable Trusts' substance use prevention and treatment initiative, Cynthia Reilly works on federal and state initiatives to reduce the inappropriate use of prescription opioids while ensuring that patients have access to effective pain management. She also focuses on expanding access to effective treatment for substance use disorders through increased use of medication-assisted treatment.
Prior to joining Pew, Reilly worked on issues related to the safety and quality of medication use for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists in Bethesda, Maryland. Areas of focus included the development of clinical policy, dissemination of best practices to improve patient outcomes, and coordination of initiatives aimed at ensuring the availability and integrity of drug products. In this role, she coordinated the society’s work in support of rescheduling hydrocodone combination products from Schedule III to Schedule II to improve the safe and appropriate use of those therapies. In addition, she led development of policy that called on clinicians to increase efforts to combat prescription drug abuse while also ensuring patient access to needed pain therapies.
Reilly received her bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Temple University and her master’s degree in global health and medical policy from George Mason University.
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of deaths from opioid overdoses continues to rise, reaching more than 33,000 in 2015, the highest number ever recorded. Opioids, which include prescription drugs and illicitly manufactured heroin and fentanyl, accounted for more than 63 percent of all drug-related overdoses that year. Read More
As the opioid crisis continues to ravage communities across the United States, policymakers and public health officials are increasingly using new tools such as prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs)—state-based electronic databases that track the dispensing of certain controlled substances—to stem the misuse of prescription opioids and reduce overdose deaths. Read More
The prescription opioid epidemic poses major threats to the nation’s health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 19,000 people in the United States died from overdoses involving prescription opioids in 2014—a 16 percent increase from the previous year, and the highest number ever recorded. Read More