Faced with a nationwide opioid epidemic, the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday announced more than $4 million in funding to 12 states to support improved data collection and analysis around opioid misuse and overdose.

Prescription opioid misuse has emerged as an urgent public health crisis, with drug poisoning deaths—including both prescription and illicit opioids—quadrupling between 1999 and 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Enhanced State Surveillance of Opioid-Involved Morbidity and Mortality program, administered by the CDC and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is meant to help a dozen states to better track fatal and non-fatal opioid-involved overdoses.

The states will use the awards to: increase the timeliness of reporting non-fatal and fatal opioid overdose and associated risk factors; disseminate surveillance findings to key stakeholders working to prevent opioid-involved overdoses; as well as share data with CDC to support improved multi-state surveillance of and response to opioid-involved overdoses.

The 12 states include: Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The $4.27 million in funding is part of a new $53 million HHS investment in 44 states and the District of Columbia to improve access to treatment for opioid use disorders, reduce opioid related deaths, and strengthen drug misuse prevention efforts.

“The epidemic of opioid use disorders involving the non-medical use of prescription opioid pain relievers and the use of heroin has had a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities across our nation,” said SAMHSA Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto. “These grants will help address the key elements of the opioid crisis by promoting effective prevention efforts, preventing overdose deaths and helping ensure that people with opioid use disorders are able to receive vital treatment and recovery support services.”

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