Harrisburg, PA — Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Health Secretary Karen Murphy announced today that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has granted the Pennsylvania Department of Health $900,000 to prevent overdose deaths related to prescription opioids. The grant is a part of the “Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States” program.
“The CDC is a true partner in Pennsylvania’s ongoing efforts to advance substance abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment to curb the heroin and opioid prescription drug epidemic,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Too many citizens of our commonwealth are dying from drug overdose, and Pennsylvania families in hardworking communities are impacted by prescription drug addiction every day. We are honored to be awarded the resources to leverage our statewide efforts to combat this epidemic, especially combined with my proposed $7.5 million budget increase to address opioid addiction.”
The funding for this program, allocated through the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), will support 16 states in total 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.
Heroin and opioid overdose are the leading cause of accidental death in Pennsylvania, killing more individuals than those involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents. In 2013, approximately 2,400 Pennsylvanians died from a drug overdose.
“The Department of Health is pleased to receive this grant from the CDC,” said Department of Health Secretary Karen Murphy. “We will utilize the funding to enhance the effectiveness of our multi-faceted approach to this critical public health crisis of prescription drug and heroin addiction.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has planned a three-pronged application of the Prevention for States grant. The department plans to enhance and maximize its Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) and primarily promote universal PDMP registration and use. The PDMP data will also be used to conduct public health surveillance, the information from which will be publicly disseminated.
The “Prevention for States” grant will also allow for the implementation of community and/or insurer interventions aimed at preventing prescription drug abuse and overdose. Finally, the department will conduct a rigorous evaluation of existing laws, policies, and regulations designed to prevent opioid overuse, misuse, abuse, and overdose to ensure that the best possible regulations are in place in Pennsylvania.
The Administration and the Department of Health anticipate moving forward with the allocation of these much-needed funds upon resolution of the current budget impasse.
Pennsylvania’s participation in the Prevention for States program is part of CDC’s efforts to provide resources and support to advance comprehensive state-level interventions for addressing the opioid epidemic.
For more information on Pennsylvania’s efforts to combat prescription drug abuse and overdose, please visit www.health.pa.gov.
For additional information about “Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States,” see http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/states/state_prevention.html.