CDC funding helps states combat prescription drug overdose epidemic

Agency commits $20 million to advance prevention on multiple fronts

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the launch of Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States, a new program to help states end the ongoing prescription drug overdose epidemic.

The Prevention for States program, as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Opioid Initiative, will make a strong investment in 16 states, giving them the resources and expertise they need to help prevent overdose deaths related to prescription opioids. The program builds upon the infrastructure of CDC’s Prevention Boost and Core Violence and Injury Prevention programs.

Through a competitive application process, CDC selected 16 states to receive funds through the program: Arizona, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

“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 Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “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.”

In FY2015, CDC is committing $20 million to launch this program in 16 states.  Over the next four years, CDC plans to give the states annual awards between $750,000 and $1 million each year, subject to the availability of funds, to advance prevention, including in these areas:

  • Enhancing prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).
  • Putting prevention into action in communities nationwide and encouraging education of providers and patients about the risk of prescription drug overdose.
  • Working with health systems, insurers, and professional providers to help them make informed decisions about prescribing pain medication.
  • Responding to new and emerging drug overdose issues through innovative projects, including developing new surveillance systems or communications campaigns.

States can also use the funding to:

  • Better understand and respond to the increase in heroin overdose deaths.
  • Investigate the connection between prescription opioid abuse and heroin use.

The President’s Budget for 2016 includes a request from Secretary Burwell for the resources needed to expand CDC’s state efforts to all 50 states and launch a national program that will focus on prevention and prescription drug overdose surveillance

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