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85 Leveraging cdc partnerships to address the opioid epidemic: state health department and injury control research centre collaborations
  1. Grant Baldwin
  1. US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention


The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. Opioids (including prescription and illicit opioids, such as heroin) killed more than 33,000 Americans in 2015 ‘“ which is nearly quadruple the number from 2000. Every day, more than 1000 people are treated in Emergency Departments for misusing prescription opioids. People who are addicted to prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin. In response, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently launched an ambitious agenda to complement the work of sister Health and Human Services agencies by focusing on public health’s core strengths: (1) using data to track the epidemic; (2) providing tools and training to health care providers to improve patient safety; and (3) scaling up effective public health interventions in states. CDC’s Overdose Prevention in States (OPIS) program, a $75 M investment across 44 states and the District of Columbia, addresses each of these core areas by: strengthening state surveillance of both fatal and non-fatal opioid-related overdoses; enhancing Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) for public health surveillance and point-of-care decisions by providers; using data for community-level decision-making; supporting the practice of guideline-concordant care; and evaluating state-level policy efforts to curb the epidemic. This presentation will describe the OPIS portfolio, with an emphasis on how it has been strengthened by collaboration with another long-standing CDC investment – the Injury Control Research Centre (ICRC) program, which began in 1987. Specifically, the presenters will highlight tangible benefits of coupling academic researchers with state health departments in order to address the opioid epidemic, such as enhanced program evaluation and implementation; development of new training modules; and identification and response to emerging ‘hot spots’. These partnerships not only link science to action; they expedite public health’s ability to address the epidemic effectively.

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