Health and Human Services (HHS) recently launched a widespread initiative – including increasing the use of naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses – aimed at reducing prescription opioid and heroin related overdose, death and dependence.
Health and Human Services (HHS) recently launched a widespread initiative – including increasing the use of naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses – aimed at reducing prescription opioid- and heroin-related overdose, death and dependence.
President Obama’s FY 2016 budget includes investments to intensify efforts to reduce opioid misuse and abuse, including $133 million in new funding to address the issue. To that end, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also launched the Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention for States program earlier this month to provide state health departments with resources to enhance their PDMPs and advance innovative prevention efforts.
HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell’s new initiative focuses on 3 priority areas that tackle the opioid crisis:
“Opioid drug abuse is a devastating epidemic facing our nation. I have seen firsthand, in my home state of West Virginia, a state struggling with this very real crisis, the impact of opioid addiction. That’s why I’m taking a targeted approach to tackling this issue focused on prevention, treatment and intervention,” Burwell said.
Prescription drugs, especially opioid analgesics such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, morphine, and methadone, have increasingly been implicated in drug overdose deaths over the last decade. Deaths related to heroin have also sharply increased since 2010, with a 39% increase between 2012 and 2013.
Among drug overdose deaths in 2013, approximately 37% involved prescription opioids.
To help increase the use of naloxone, HHS will support the development, review and approval of new naloxone products and delivery options. The agency will also promote state use of Substance Abuse Block Grant funds to purchase naloxone and implement the Prescription Drug Overdose grant program for states to purchase naloxone and train first responders on its use.