The Whitehouse – Washington
From The Office of National Drug Control Policy
2013 Mortality Data Released
The much-anticipated 2013 mortality data was recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While drug deaths related to prescription painkillers have remained stable since 2012, deaths related to heroin use have increased for the third year in a row.
Heroin-related deaths had the largest increase in the overall data, at 39% since 2012. These results show that while the Administration’s efforts to reduce nonmedical use of prescription drugs have been effective, more work is needed to prevent and treat substance use disorders before the disease becomes chronic.
To address this issue, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Federal budget provides resources for drug prevention and treatment. The Department of Health and Human Services budget provides $12 million through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to expand treatment services for opioid use disorder and $20 million to prevent prescription drug abuse through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, the FY2015 budget provides the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) with $7 million for competitive grants to aid state law enforcement agencies in investigating illicit activity in areas with high rates of treatment admissions for heroin and other opioids.
Substance use disorders are progressive diseases, and, in the case of opioid use disorders (which include prescription painkillers and heroin), the problem often begins with a prescription or taking pills from a home medicine cabinet. Nearly 68% of people who begin using prescription drugs for the first time for non-medical use obtain the drug from a family member or friend. The Final Rule for the Disposal of Controlled Substances was released by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2014. This new rule allows local communities to dispose of unused or unwanted medications in a more environmentally responsible and convenient manner. More information on the rule can be found at http://www.dea.gov/divisions/hq/2014/hq090814.shtml.
As part of its broad response to the opioid crisis, the Department of Justice recently released a toolkit for law enforcement on the use of naloxone, the life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug. When administered quickly and effectively to a person experiencing overdose related to opioids, naloxone can save a life. Law enforcement agencies across the nation have equipped and trained officers with naloxone, saving hundreds of lives since the first pilot program was launched in 2010 in Quincy, Massachusetts. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also provides block grants to states for substance abuse treatment and prevention which can be used to purchase naloxone. It also released a toolkit that can be found at http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA13-4742/Overdose_Toolkit_2014_Jan.pdf.
The Obama Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Policy remain committed to fostering healthy individuals and safe communities, by effectively leading the nation’s effort to reduce drug use and its consequences in the United States.
For more information about the Office of National Drug Control Policy visit: www.whitehouse.gov/DrugPolicyReform