The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center supports key components of the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) initiative aimed at reducing prescription opioid overdose as announced by Secretary Sylvia Burwell yesterday.
Prescription Drug Overdose a Leading Cause of Death
Deaths from drug overdose have risen steadily over the past two decades and have become the leading cause of injury death in the United States. Prescription opioids—a class of prescription drugs used to treat both acute and chronic pain – were involved in 37 percent of drug overdose deaths in 2013. Sales of these drugs nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2013, and overdose deaths quadrupled in lockstep.
Evidence-Based Solutions to the Crisis
Addressing the prescription opioid overdose crisis requires broad and sustainable action, and CDC takes seriously its role in the coordinated federal response. Key strategies are based on evidence-informed interventions with the greatest potential for impact, including:
- Developing training and education resources, including updated prescriber guidelines, to help health professionals make informed decisions for safe opioid prescribing.
- Expanding use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), electronic databases that track controlled substance prescriptions and support appropriate pain management.
- Expanding state-level interventions that focus on prescription opioid overdose prevention efforts through the Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention for States program. The program will assist states in enhancing PDMPs, implementing innovative prevention efforts and safe prescribing practices.
The work of CDC’s Injury Center has an integral role in the coordinated federal response to combat the opioid crisis. The Secretary’s initiative focuses on additional priority areas through a Department wide effort:
- Increasing access and use of naloxone, a life-saving drug that can reverse the effects of a prescription opioid overdose when timely administered.
- Expanding the use of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), an approach that combines the use of medication with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders.
To learn more about CDC’s role in reducing prescription opioid overdose deaths as part of the HHS initiative:
- Get the facts about Prescription Drug Overdose in the United States.
- Learn about the CDC Injury Center’s Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention for States Program.
- Read about the HHS initiative.
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