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HHS Awards Funding to Improve State-Level Data Collection and Analysis Around Opioid Misuse

August 31, 2016
by Heather Landi
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $53 million in funding to 44 states, four tribes and the District of Columbia to combat the opioid crisis with a specific focus on improving access to treatment for opioid use disorders, reducing opioid related deaths and strengthening drug misuse prevention efforts.

A portion of the funding will support improved data collection and analysis around opioid misuse and overdose as well as better tracking of fatal and nonfatal opioid-involved overdoses. In addition, states can use some of the funding to enhance prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), further prevention efforts, and execute and evaluate strategies to improve safe prescribing practices,

Administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the $53 million in funding specifically supports six programs, according to a HHS press release.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia will receive up to $6 million in grants from the Prescription Drug Overdose: Data-Driven Prevention Initiative (DDPI) to advance and evaluate state-level prevention activities to address opioid misuse and overdose. The funding will aim to enhance awardees capabilities to improve data collection and analysis around opioid misuse and overdose and develop strategies that impact behaviors driving prescription opioid misuse and dependence.

The $6 million in grant funding also will help awardees work with communities to develop more comprehensive opioid overdose prevention programs. Awardees are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Washington, D.C.

“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,” SAMHSA principal deputy administrator Kana Enomoto said in a prepared statement. “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.”

The Medication-Assisted Treatment Prescription Drug Opioid Addiction Grants will provide $11 million in funding to 11 states to expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services for persons with opioid use disorder. This program targets states identified as having the highest rates of primary treatment admissions for heroin and prescription opioids per capita, and prioritizes those states with the most dramatic recent increases for heroin and opioids.

The Prescription Drug Opioid Overdose Prevention Grants also will provide up to $11 million to 12 states to reduce opioid overdose-related deaths. Funding will support training on prevention of opioid overdose-related deaths as well as the purchase and distribution of naloxone to first responders. 

Grants totaling $9 million from the Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Prescription Drugs program will be awarded to 21 states and four tribes to strengthen drug misuse prevention efforts. The program is designed to raise awareness about the dangers of sharing medications and work to address the risks of overprescribing.

“States are on the frontline of preventing prescription opioid overdoses—it is critical that state health departments have the support they need to combat the epidemic,” CDC director Tom Frieden, M.D., said in a statement. “States can use these funds to develop, implement, and evaluate programs that save lives.”

Fourteen states will receive up to $11.5 million in grants from the Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States program. The supplemental funding will support the ongoing work of awardees, allowing awardees to address issues such as high overdose death rates in tribal communities and improve toxicology and drug screening. States can use this funding to enhance prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), further prevention efforts, and execute and evaluate strategies to improve safe prescribing practices, according to the HHS press release.

The Enhanced State Surveillance of Opioid-Involved Morbidity and Mortality program is awarding $4.27 million in funds to 12 states to better track fatal and nonfatal opioid-involved overdoses.

The funding announced is part of the HHS’ Opioid Initiative, which was launched in March 2015 and is focused on improving opioid prescribing practices; expanding access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder; and increasing the use of naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses. The initiative concentrates on evidence-based strategies that can have the most significant impact on the crisis.

According to HHS, additional funding is necessary to ensure access to treatment for opioid use disorder. Under the President’s FY 2017 Budget proposal, states would be eligible for up to $920 million over two years to expand access to treatment. At this time, Congress has not funded the budget proposal, according to HHS.

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