The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has received $820,000 for four years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent overdose deaths related to prescription opioids as part of the Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States program.
The Prevention for States program, allocated through the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), will support 16 states with annual awards between $750,000 and $1 million over the next four years to implement prevention strategies to improve safe prescribing practices and turn the tide on the prescription drug overdose epidemic. Funding will support:
· Prescription drug monitoring programs,
· Improvements to opioid prescribing practices
· Prevention efforts at the state and community level, and
· “Rapid response projects” to address new and emerging problems related to prescription drug overdose
“The purpose of this comprehensive program is to prevent prescription drug overdoses and deaths by addressing problematic prescribing and patient overuse, misuse, and abuse of prescription drugs. We will work with physicians, pharmacists, community groups, and numerous agencies to combat the problem,” said Dr. Terry Cline, Secretary of Health and Human Services and OSDH Commissioner. “Some of the funding will be provided to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control to enhance Oklahoma’s Prescription Monitoring Program, a statewide data system that tracks all prescriptions for controlled substances, and to educate providers on using the system to improve patient care.”
Drug overdose is the leading cause of injury-related death, both in Oklahoma and the United States. In 2013, Oklahoma had the eighth highest age-adjusted drug overdose death rate in the nation, 49% higher than the U.S. rate. More overdose deaths involve prescription painkillers than alcohol and all illicit drugs combined.
OSDH has already collaborated with multiple agencies and organizations statewide to create solutions to address the problem of prescription drug misuse. Some of these efforts include:
· Promoting and evaluating opioid prescribing guidelines for physicians;
· Providing training on the use of intranasal naloxone to basic- and intermediate-level emergency medical service and emergency medical response agencies;
· Providing community education and awareness of overdose deaths at state and local levels; and
· Collecting, analyzing, and reporting on data to better understand the problem and inform the development and evaluation of prevention strategies.
Oklahoma’s participation in the Prevention for States program is part of the CDC’s efforts to provide resources and support to advance comprehensive state-level interventions for preventing prescription drug overuse, misuse, abuse, and overdose in participating states. The 16 states participating include: Arizona, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.