State News
September 11, 2015

Vermont receives $4 million to combat prescription drug overdoses

The Vermont Department of Health has received a $4 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent overdose deaths related to prescription opioids, Gov. Peter Shumlin and Health Commissioner Harry Chen announced Sept. 4.

The funding is part of the Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States program. Vermont will be one of 16 states to receive yearly funds of up to $1 million over the next four years to improve safe prescribing practices to better prevent opioid drug misuse, dependence, diversion and overdose.

The Health Department will partner with the Department of Vermont Health Access, Vermont’s Blueprint for Health, the University of Vermont Office of Primary Care, and an advisory group of stakeholders.

The funding, which is allocated through CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, will support:

Enhancements to the Vermont Prescription Monitoring System (VPMS)

Training and technical assistance for medical professionals

Improved communication with prescribers on best practices and alternative treatments for chronic pain

Research with opioid drug users to better understand the path to addiction

“This is another significant investment in our work to overcome the challenge of opioid addiction,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD. “In many ways, Vermont has been at the forefront in working to prevent opioid addiction, identify and intervene early in a person’s dependence, provide medication-assisted treatment and recovery support, and in equipping responders and citizens with naloxone to reverse opioid poisoning and save lives.”

From 2010 to 2014, there have been 188 deaths in Vermont related to prescription opioid painkillers.

Vermont’s participation in the Prevention for States program is part of CDC’s efforts to provide resources and support to advance comprehensive state-level interventions for preventing prescription drug overuse, misuse, abuse and overdose in participating states. The other 15 states are Arizona, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.

For more information about Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention for States, visit:  www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/states/state_prevention.html

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