A nation-wide offensive is the only way to control the abuse of prescription drugs
In the latest effort to curb the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced it would provide $20 million dollars to support state run programs that combat Rx overdose.
After a competitive process that examined each state’s plan to deal with the issue, 16 states were chosen to receive the federal funds. The following states were chosen: Arizona, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
The chosen programs will be directed at prescription overdoses, however, they will also provide the opportunity to better understand and respond to heroin overdoses. A variety of strategies will be employed to reduce the number of deaths related to prescription drugs including monitoring and improving the practice of prescribing opioids as well as the creation of ‘rapid response units’ that will be trained to deal with problems arising as a result of the epidemic.
The funds will be released over the course of several years.
According to the CDC, the number of people who overdosed has quadrupled since 1999. In 2013 alone, 16,000 people died from opioid overdose; 8,000 died from heroin related causes.
“The prescription drug overdose epidemic is tragic and costly, but can be reversed”, said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH.
The issue has gained increasing publicity over the past year. In his 2016 budget, President Obama included requests to fund the expansion of programs designed to curb opioid abuse in all 50 states. Many in Washington agree that a nation-wide offensive is the only way to control the abuse of prescription drugs.