According to the CDC, the U.S. is facing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse. In order to counter this phenomenon, the CDC is intent on spending 20 million dollars in aiding 16 individual states.
Since 1999, the number of drug abuse cases has increased four times. In 2013 alone, 16,000 people have died to opioid overdose. Also during 2013, another 8,000 U.S. citizens passed due to heroin overdose. This number marked a three times spike from the year 2010.
On Friday, the CDC announced that it will invest 20 million dollars in a program coined Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States. The main aim of the program is to curtail drug overdose in 16 of the most affected U.S. states.
Alongside funding, the stated will benefit from CDC expertise. Hopefully, the results of the program envisaged to span four years will result in fewer deaths and more prevention and awareness regarding prescription drug abuse and overdose.
The states that are announced to be included in the CDC program are Wisconsin, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Utah, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio, California, Oregon, North Carolina, New Mexico, as well as Arizona.
Each year, the states will be awarded grants in between 750,000 dollars and 1 million dollars. All funds must go into prescription drug abuse prevention programs. According to Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the CDC, states are key and trusted partners if a national problem is to be combated and lives are to be saved.
States alone are responsible for managing such an issue. However, extra funding may go a long way in combating drug abuse and deaths due to drug abuse. Making more informed decisions related to prescribing opioids for instance is one possible starting point.
Prescription drug abuse often starts it seems from physicians overlooking the patient’s possible substance abuse record or other addictive habits, such as smoking.
Instructing physicians to follow safer practices when prescribing opioids could drastically reduce the number of patients who remain addicted to the drug at hand. Investing in rapid response programs, as well as tracking high-risk patients could lead to saving lives.
If prescription drug abuse is to be reversed in the U.S., then concerted action must be taken. The 20 million dollars CDC program involving 16 states is a milestone in this direction. However, all 50 states could equally benefit in the future from similar schemes.
Photo Credits: Torange