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Prescription Drug Overdoses: CDC Announces $20 Million Program To Combat Epidemic

The United States Centers for Disease Control announced yesterday that they have started a $20 million program to fight the nation’s rising prescription-drug overdoses.

According to a UPI story, prescription-drug overdoses have “quadrupled” in the past 16 years. Opioids alone caused more than 16,000 deaths in 2013.

The CDC said their program would be implemented in 16 different states, including California, Oregon, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Allotments of the $20 million will be handed out over the next four years and will be put toward prescription drug monitoring programs, education and prevention programs, as well as education programs for doctors and health systems.

In a press release from the CDC, Director Dr. Tom Friedman said the overdose epidemic is “tragic and costly.”

The prescription drug overdose epidemic is tragic and costly, but can be reversed. Because we can protect people from becoming addicted to opioids, we must take fast action now.

CDC Secretary Silvia Burwell was quoted as saying the battle against prescription overdoses is one that “requires a multifaceted approach.”

Several sources have reported the Burwell has asked President Barack Obama to use funds from his 2016 budget to expand the program to all 50 states.

In an article from Tech Times, Burwell was quoted as saying that the CDC’s program will help states “improve their ability to track the problem.”

With this funding, states can improve their ability to track the problem, work with insurers to help providers make informed prescribing decisions, and take action to combat this epidemic.

A recent study from the Mayo Clinic showed that, of 293 patients who received short-term opiate prescriptions, 25 percent continued their prescription drug use longer than the prescribed 90-day limit.

Experts say that patients who smoke and those with a history of substance abuse are more likely to become addicted to their prescriptions.

Heroin overdose rates are particularly alarming. Between 2010 and 2013, overdoses tripled.

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