- HHS on Wednesday announced $53 million in funding to 44 states, four tribes and the District of Columbia across six programs in efforts to strengthen drug misuse prevention efforts and reduce opioid-related deaths.
- Data-Driven Prevention Initiative (DDPI) will award $6 million to 13 states and DC to improve data collection and analysis around opioid misuse.
- The states receiving DDPI funds include Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day and the White House administration announced a host of new funds to expand access to medication-assisted treatment as well as reduce overdose-related deaths.
Among the funds are prescription drug opioid overdose prevention grants that will provide up to $11 million to 12 states which will support prevention training as well as the purchase and distribution of naloxone to first responders. Awardees are Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama asked Congress for $1.1 billion to fight the opioid epidemic. HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell noted on a conference call to reporters that Congress has not funded the proposal at this time.
"This funding is certainly critical in terms of our continued efforts to prevent overdoses and expand treatment capacity and we know that they will save lives but we also know we need Congress to more fully address our response to this crisis and they must act to provide sufficient resources to make life-saving treatment available to everyone that seeks it," Michael Botticelli, director of National Drug Control Policy at the White House, said on the call.
On the call, Huntington, WV Mayor Steve Williams (D) highlighted how communities can use prevention and intervention to help reduce drug misuse deaths. He shared how keeping data current and up-to-date can help such efforts. A report recently published in Health Affairs found opioid-related overdose deaths declined 1.12 per 100,000 people in the year following implementation of state prescription-monitoring programs.
Williams stated his office had been using data that were two years old for such efforts. Being able to provide healthcare professionals with tools and up-to-date information is important in these initiatives, Williams noted. He shared that one evening within the past two weeks, there were 26 overdoses that occurred in the city over a five-hour period. While two of those overdoses did resulted in deaths, he said that prevention and intervention efforts resulted in being able to save 24 lives. This included being able to have current data and being properly equipped and training on how to administer naloxone.
Though Botticelli and Williams both noted one big hurdle is the gap in treatment access and facilities. Williams shared there are only 28 detox beds in the state of West Virginia. 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.