The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, March 30, 2016 7:07 am

State gets new boost in war on Rx drugs

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded the Indiana State Department of Health a $3.28 million grant to combat overdose deaths related to prescription drugs.

The grant runs from March 1 through August 2019. It is the second round of awards – now covering 29 states. The initial program was for $20 million, and it is unclear if the overall pot has been increased. 

"As we have seen here in Indiana, opioid overuse is a problem that many people struggle with," State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams said. "This funding will help us gather data to inform strategies on how to prevent opioid overdoses."

Drug overdoses in Indiana have grown from 184 in 1999 to 1,152 in 2014, health department data show. Of the most recent number, about 250 were from opioid pain relievers.

Authorities have investigated two pain doctors in northeast Indiana in recent years – shutting down clinics that gave out painkillers regularly and that had multiple patient deaths.

The Indiana Attorney General has led the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force since 2012, and more recently Gov. Mike Pence created a Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention to fight drug abuse and addiction in Indiana.

The Indiana State Department of Health said in a news release it will use this funding to expand the Indiana Violent Death Reporting System. The expansion will provide additional data regarding opioid overdose at the county level and will help inform prevention efforts and expand use of data for public health surveillance.

Funding will also support enhancements to INSPECT, the Indiana prescription drug monitoring program at the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency; improvements to opioid prescribing practices; prevention efforts at the state and community levels to address new and emerging problems related to prescription drug overdoses; and a partnership with the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health to evaluate opioid prescribing practices in Indiana.

The CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has expanded its Prevention for States program to an additional 13 states this year to help turn the tide on the prescription drug overdose epidemic.

The Prevention for States program is a part of CDC’s ongoing efforts to scale up prevention activities as part of a national response to the opioid overdose epidemic. Prevention for States provides resources and support to advance comprehensive state-level interventions for preventing prescription drug overuse, misuse, abuse and overdose.

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