CDC Issues $12 Million to Help 23 States Fight Opioid Epidemic

The agency plans to provide additional funding to further the cause later this summer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued $12 million to 23 states and the District of Columbia to strengthen prevention efforts and improve tracking of opioid-related overdoses.

The announcement is the latest of several recent measures taken by the federal government aimed at curbing the nationwide opioid epidemic.

On July 13, the US Department of Justice unveiled the largest health care fraud takedown in American history, which set its sights on wrangling up some 120 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other so-called fraudsters for opioid-related crimes.

On July 6, pharmaceutical company Endo International pulled its painkiller Opana ER from the market in response to an earlier request for removal from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The CDC’s new $12 million issuance allows the organization to support all states that have applied for funding through the Enhanced State Surveillance of Opioid-Involved Morbidity and Mortality (ESOOS) program and the Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States (PfS) program.

Under ESOOS, $7.5 million will go to 20 additional states and the District of Columbia to better track and prevent opioid-involved nonfatal and fatal overdoses. The agreement currently provides funds to 12 states to develop and adapt surveillance systems to address the rising rate of overdoses attributable to opioids, including a specific focus on heroin and synthetic opioids, like illicitly manufactured fentanyl.

States can use ESOOS funds to:

• More quickly report nonfatal and fatal opioid overdose and risk factors linked to fatal overdoses

• Share data with key stakeholders working to prevent opioid-involved overdoses

• Share data with CDC to support improved multi-state surveillance of and response to opioid- involved overdoses

Under the PfS program, $4.8 million will go to an additional 8 states. This funding will allow states to enhance prescription drug monitoring programs and implement and evaluate strategies to improve safe opioid prescribing practices.

“More than 90 Americans lose their lives to the opioid overdose epidemic every day, which is devastating to their communities and families,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD. “Supporting state efforts is crucial to stop these tragic losses.”

The expanded funding is part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ five-point strategy to fight the opioid epidemic by:

• Improving access to prevention, treatment and recovery services, including the full range of medication-assisted treatment

• Targeting availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs

• Strengthening timely public health data and reporting

• Supporting cutting-edge research on pain and addiction

• Advancing better practices for pain management

“The opioid epidemic is a scourge on our nation that knows no bounds,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, MD. “President Trump and we at HHS are working to support states on the front lines of this national crisis. This new support from CDC, funded by the appropriations bill President Trump signed in May, will help states and local authorities track this epidemic and respond in real time.”

According to an agency statement, the CDC plans to announce additional funding awards for state opioid overdose prevention programs later this summer.

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