CDC announces $20 million to fight prescription drug abuse

As seen in the Consultant Connection November 2015 Issue
ently announced a new program, “Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States,” which aims to invest in 16 states, including Ohio, currently battling an epidemic of prescription drug overdoses. The program will commit $20 million in FY2015 and is part of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Opioid initiative.
“The prescription drug overdose epidemic requires a multifaceted approach, and states are key partners in our efforts on the front lines to prevent overdose deaths,” said HHS secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said. “With this funding, states can improve their ability to track the problem, work with insurers to help providers make informed prescribing decisions, and take action to combat this epidemic.”
Under the program 16 states — Ariz., Calif., Ill., Ky., Neb., N.M., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., Tenn., Utah, Vt. And Wis. — will receive between $750,000 and $1 million in funding each year for the next four years. The money will go to enhance prescription drug monitoring programs, implementing community-level prevention, responding to overdose issues, developing communications campaigns or surveillance systems and working with providers, health systems and insurers to discuss how to make informed prescribing decisions around pain medication. In the coming year’s budget from the President, there is a request from Burwell that will seek funding for a 50-state prevention and abuse surveillance program. 
In addition to combatting prescription drug abuse, funding also will go toward understanding heroin overdoses and the connection between opioid abuse and heroin use. In 2013, prescription opioid overdoses killed 16,000 people, and the number of prescriptions has quadrupled since 1999 despite no shift in the amount of reported pain among U.S. patients, the CDC said.
“The prescription drug overdose epidemic is tragic and costly, but can be reversed,” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said. “Because we can protect people from becoming addicted to opioids, we must take fast action now, with real-time tracking programs, safer prescribing practices, and rapid response.  Reversing this epidemic will require programs in all 50 states.”

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