CDC awards $28.6M to help states collect data on opioid overdoses

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded $28.6 million to help bolster state efforts to prevent and track opioid overdoses, including scaling up prescription drug monitoring programs that serve as databases recording patient prescribing histories and helping providers to flag suspicious activity.

Three CDC programs were funded through the Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill: Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States (PfS), Data-Driven Prevention Initiative (DDPI), and Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS).

“One piece of HHS’s five-point strategy for combating the opioid crisis is improving our understanding of the epidemic through better public health data,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, MD. “The expansion of these CDC programs, made possible by legislation President Trump signed earlier this year, is an important piece of our commitment to helping states combat the scourge of opioid addiction and overdose.”

Under the PfS program, $19.3 million in supplemental awards will go to 27 states to provide state health departments with resources and support needed to advance interventions for preventing prescription drug overdoses. Among the states’ activities as part of this effort are maximizing prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) by:

  • Moving toward universal registration and use
  • Making PDMPs easier to use and access
  • Ensuring PDMP data is more timely
  • Expanding and improving proactive PDMP reporting to identify and address inappropriate prescribing patterns
  • Using PDMP data to better understand the nature of the prescription drug overdose epidemic

Last month, an interim report from the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction recommended that the federal government provide funding and technical support to states to improve interstate data sharing between state-run PDMPs to better track prescriptions written for addictive medications.
Also See: States need to share prescription data to combat opioid crisis, finds commission

As part of the DDPI program, $4.6 million in supplemental awards will go to 12 states and Washington, DC, to—among other goals—improve data collection and analysis around opioid misuse, abuse and overdose.

In addition, under the ESOOS program, $4.7 million will go to 32 states and Washington, DC, to improve prevention and response efforts by providing more timely data on fatal and nonfatal opioid overdoses. Specifically, funds will be used by medical examiners and coroners to conduct comprehensive toxicology testing and for enhancing their surveillance activities. The data will be shared with the CDC to support better multi-state surveillance of and response to opioid-involved overdoses.

“Drug overdoses have dramatically increased over the last two decades in America,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD. “This additional CDC funding to states, who are on the frontlines of the opioid overdose epidemic, is critical to help them scale up prevention efforts to fight this crisis and save lives.”

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