The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded $279 million to 49 states, the District of Columbia, and 40 local health departments to help stop overdoses within their communities.
This initiative is designed to fill a longstanding gap in funding for local communities by specifically supporting city, county, and territorial health departments.
According to the CDC, substance use is deadlier than ever due to changes in the illicit drug supply, the continued threats from illegal fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, a rise in stimulant use, and the use of multiple drugs at one time.
The CDC reported that an increasing percentage of overdose deaths involved counterfeit pill use. These pills are especially dangerous because they typically appear as pharmaceutical pills but often contain illegally made fentanyl and illegal benzodiazepines (such as bromazolam, etizolam, and flualprazolam) or other drugs, with or without people’s knowledge.
The CDC highlighted three initiatives to prevent overdose deaths.
The first initiative is to increase access and reduce barriers to proven treatment and recovery support services for all people who have substance use disorder(s). This includes medications for opioid use disorder, and, when appropriate, culturally tailored practices.
The second initiative is to raise awareness about illegally made fentanyl and polysubstance use (the use of more than one drug) and reducing stigma around treatment, recovery, and harm reduction.
The third initiative is to support harm reduction by expanding the distribution of and education about the life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone. This also includes expanding access to harm reduction services (e.g., distribution of naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and syringe service programs, as allowable), and expanding education about substance use risks in populations that have been disproportionately impacted
These new financial resources come from two new Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) funding opportunities. OD2A supports jurisdictions in implementing prevention activities and in collecting accurate, comprehensive, and timely data on nonfatal and fatal overdoses and in using those data to enhance programmatic and surveillance efforts.
OD2A focuses on understanding and tracking the complex and changing nature of the drug overdose crisis by seamlessly integrating data and prevention strategies.