16 states to get funding from CDC to prevent overdose deaths from prescription opiate drugs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is determined to end the ongoing prescription drug overdose epidemic. With that aim, it has started a program, Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States, involving 16 states. The program will provide resources, funding and expertise to curb overdose deaths from prescription opioids.

The program is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services' Opioid Initiative and has been built on the infrastructure of CDC's Prevention Boost and Core Violence and Injury Prevention programs.

The 16 states were selected through a competitive application process. "The prescription drug overdose epidemic requires a multifaceted approach, and states are key partners in our efforts on the front lines to prevent overdose deaths", said Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.

Burwell said with the help of the funding, the states will be able to work on key areas, including improving the ability to find out the problem, work with insurers to help providers make informed choices and take actions to reduce the epidemic.

The CDC has committed $20 million for the program. The funding will dispended in the course of four years. It will give states between $750,000 and $1 million each year. The amount will depend on the availability of funds.

Since 1999, overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have increased by four times in the US. In 2013, more than 16,000 people lost their lives from prescription opioid overdoses.