CDC steps up fight against opioid addiction with $28.6M to expand data collection and improve PDMPs

Hydrocodone opioid pills
A new round of funding from the CDC will support several data-driven efforts to curb opioid abuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is awarding nearly $30 million in new funding to states across the country to bolster data collection efforts that federal officials view as key to combating opioid addiction.

The federal government will divvy up $28.6 million across three data-driven initiatives in 44 states and the District of Columbia, the CDC announced on Tuesday. The funding is part of the 2017 appropriations bill that carved out additional money to combat opioid addiction across the country.

The new round of funding will add to $12 million awarded to 23 states in July to track overdose deaths and enhance prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP).

RELATED: CDC reports prescriptions for opioids have tripled since 1999

“One piece of HHS’s five-point strategy for combating the opioid crisis is improving our understanding of the epidemic through better public health data,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., said in the announcement.

Most of the funding will go toward a state-based prevention program to scale up PDMP usage by building in clinical feedback. Less than $5 million will improve overdose surveillance programs in 32 states and D.C.

PDMPs are gaining traction as opioid overdose deaths have skyrocketed. Last month, the White House-appointed Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis recommended state and federal PDMPs be interoperable within 12 months. New Joint Commission pain standards, released last week, will require physicians and pharmacists to access PDMP databases by Jan 1.

RELATED: Mandatory PDMP participation helped 3 states drive down opioid prescriptions

Several states have begun integrating PDMP systems into EHRs. Last month, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said his state will integrate PDMP data into every system’s EHR over the next three years. Michigan Gov. Brian Calley launched a similar initiative months earlier, backed by $2.1 million in federal and state funding.

Meanwhile, Yale New Haven Health and Yale School of Medicine announced plans to integrate Connecticut’s PDMP into the system’s EHR more than a year after several Yale doctors said incorporating prescription data into EHRs would provide a more efficient process for reviewing prescriptions.