By Portia Williams
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced Thursday that Kentucky will receive nearly $4 million in federal funding from the Center For Disease Control (CDC) over the next four years to combat the epidemic of prescription drug overdoses.
According to a release, the funding, to the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC), is part of a $20 million initiative, Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States, launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Under the grant, KIPRC will receive $940,000 a year for the next four years. KIPRC is a partnership between the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health that combines academic investigation with practical public health initiatives.
Gov. Beshear said the funding will be instrumental in eradicating the prescription drug abuse and addiction problems in the State of Kentucky.
“This funding will give us further resources to continue diminishing the grip that prescription drug abuse and addiction has on Kentucky, and help us prevent overdose deaths related to prescription opioids,” Beshear said.
Gov. Beshear worked with lawmakers to pass landmark prescription drug abuse legislation that took effect in 2012.
According to the release, through a competitive application process, Kentucky was selected along with Arizona, California, Illinois, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont and Wisconsin.
“House Bill 1 was a bipartisan effort designed to help us fight the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Kentucky, and it’s doing exactly that,” Beshear said. “Since the law was enacted, not only have we seen a decline in doctor shopping and prescriptions for heavily abused medications, pill mills have closed and the provider community at large has become more educated and committed to using best practices for prescribing these commonly abused medications.”
The release also stated the Prevention for States program is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Opioid Initiative.
Individual state allocation is subject to the availability of funds, and will be used to advance prevention, including in these areas:
Enhancing prescription drug monitoring programs.
Putting prevention into action in communities nationwide and encouraging education of providers and patients about the risk of prescription drug overdose.
Working with health systems, insurers and professional providers to help them make informed decisions about prescribing pain medication.
Responding to new and emerging drug overdose issues through innovative projects, including developing new surveillance systems or communications campaigns.
States can also use the funding to:
Better understand and respond to the increase in heroin overdose deaths.
Investigate the connection between prescription opioid abuse and heroin use.
Greenup County Sheriff Keith Cooper was not available for comment concerning the release from the Gov. Beshear’s Office, but Deputy Larry Pancake of the GCSO, told the Daily Times he would like to see all counties in Kentucky benefit from the $4 million in CDC funding.
“I would be curious to find out if they offer us anything individually,” Pancake said. “It would be great if they would split it up between the 126 counties in Kentucky to deal with the prescription drug problems that impact each of our counties.”
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.