Federal health authorities have awarded $3.7 million to California to fight against opioids -- and it's a fight that's just beginning.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced the launch of a program that would involve spending millions of dollars in a variety of states to fight painkillers.
The aim is to stop the problem of prescription drug overdose, which has become an epidemic as opioids have taken hold of the country in recent decades, according to a Fox28 report.
The announcement of the Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States program notes that the investment will be focused on 16 states, providing them with resources to prevent overdose deaths. Opioids are developed from the seed of the poppy, and are in the same family as illicit drugs like heroin. Brand names like Vicodin and Oxycontin have a particularly high level of abuse.
The CDC has selected the following states to receive funds: Arizona, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement that because prescription drug abuse has become such a problem in the country, it will require a multifaceted approach, and that will include working closely with the states to develop solutions.
The CDC will give states annual awards of between $750,000 and $1 million over the next four years. The money will go toward prescription drug monitoring programs, programs that encourage the education of providers and patients of prescription drug risks, and working with health systems and insurers to help people make the right choices about pain medications.
In the 2016 president’s budget request, the CDC asked for resources to expand the CDC’s efforts to all 50 states, as well as launch a national program.