The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded the State of Illinois one of sixteen available four-year grants to prevent overdose deaths related to prescription opioids as part of the CDC’s Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States program. The grant is worth $3.6 million over four years.
This funding will support Illinois over the next four years in implementing prevention strategies to improve safe prescribing practices, reverse the trend on the prescription drug overdose epidemic and give priority to drivers of the prescription drug overdose epidemic, particularly the misuse and inappropriate prescribing of opioid pain relievers.
The funding supports the following strategies:
1. Enhance and maximize Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs;
2. Improve opioid prescribing practices;
3. Implement prevention efforts at the state and community level aimed at preventing overuse, misuse, abuse and overdose; and
4. Implement “Rapid Response Projects” to address new and emerging problems related to prescription drug overdose.
While the primary purpose of the funding is the prevention of prescription drug overdoses, it also presents opportunities of advance surveillance and evaluation efforts to understand and respond to the increase in heroin overdose deaths, especially at the intersection of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use. As a funded state, Illinois will track heroin morbidity and mortality as an outcome of its work and have opportunities to evaluate policies with implications for preventing both prescription drug and heroin overdoses.
Receipt of this grant allows Illinois to focus on enhancing and empowering community-level prevention and implementing health system improvements to reduce overdose risk. The community interventions will include coordinating intensive prevention efforts in high-burden communities and working with local health departments to disseminate analyses of prescribing and overdose trends. As part of a peer-review function of the PMP Advisory Committee selected members will participate in drug utilization review and adherence to national standards on opioid utilization.