Brenda Fitzgerald

CDC Accelerates Opioid Data Reporting to Help Identify Hot Spots

It is not as dramatic as arresting drug kingpins, but the CDC’s work tracking the data of the opioid epidemic is essential for turning the tide against this ongoing crisis.

Now they are accelerating their efforts. Overdose deaths and emergency room data that once took the organization two years to collect and report to the public is now out in seven months, CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald said during a press conference Monday.

“This can help pinpoint hot spots where prevention programs, treatment and recovery services are needed,” she said.

Almost 100 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses,” Fitzgerald added. “Opioid deaths are just a tip of the iceberg considering the number of people who are using opioids or misusing illegal drugs. Time and again we hear people get started on the road to addiction by taking opioids prescribed to them.”

The CDC has set opioid guidelines for prescribers and is helping states with prescription drug monitoring programs. The purpose of these programs is to track individual doctors prescribing and to prevent patients from “doctor shopping” for excess opioid prescriptions.

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is committed to using evidence-based methods to communicate targeted messages about the opioid crisis and prevent addiction and misuse in every way we can,” said HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D. “Prevention is a key piece of the five-point strategy HHS unveiled under the Trump Administration for combating this crisis, which has left no corner of America untouched.”

With the tagline, “It only takes a little to lose a lot,” the Rx Awareness campaign uses testimonials to educate the public, focusing on the dangers of prescription opioids whether used for medical or non-medical purposes. The campaign materials include videos, audio ads, social media ads, internet banners, web graphics, billboards, and posters highlighting the importance of knowing the risks associated with prescription opioids to prevent misuse and overdose.

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To learn more about how the CDC is addressing the opioid crisis, please visit North Carolina Health News.

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