Kentucky to Receive Nearly $4 Million to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell

The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC) has been awarded $940,000 each year for the next four years to combat the prescription drug abuse and heroin epidemic in Kentucky. CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden, shared this news with Senator McConnell, who wrote a letter of support to CDC earlier this year on behalf of KIPRC, which is a partnership between the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the University of Kentucky.

These competitively awarded federal funds will be used to improve controlled substances prescribing practices and to evaluate drug overdose prevention interventions for prescription drugs and heroin. This effort will allow Kentucky to continue to enhance and implement one of the nation’s leading prescription drug monitoring programs, commonly known as KASPER; by improving interoperability with electronic health record systems. In addition, the funds will be used to target interventions in counties with some of the highest rates of drug overdoses, including Jefferson, Fayette, Boone, Kenton and Campbell.

“The opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc on communities and families throughout the Commonwealth,” Senator McConnell said. “I am pleased to see Dr. Frieden continue to prioritize federal funding opportunities at CDC to help identify and prevent prescription drug abuse and heroin use in Kentucky. I look forward to seeing how this competitive grant enhances the efforts of KIPRC in saving lives.”

“Nearly 150,000 Americans have died from prescription drug overdoses in the past decade, and Kentucky has been hit especially hard,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Because we can protect many Americans from becoming addicted to opioids, we must take swift action to help states track prescriptions to improve safer prescribing. Kentucky has taken action and has the leadership and commitment to turn the tide on this epidemic.”

Interim Dean of the UK College of Public Health, Dr. Wayne Sanderson, said, “This grant is transformational in its potential to help state and local communities address the serious problems associated with substance abuse that are plaguing our citizens. For 20 years, KIPRC has targeted improvements on substance abuse treatment and policy. This most recent grant is an excellent example of the impact the Center is making to improve health and safety and addressing one of the Commonwealth’s most serious concerns. The Center is grateful for the advocacy and support of Senator McConnell on our behalf to the CDC, and the impact it had on our success in receiving this award.”

KIPRC Director, Dr. Terry Bunn, thanked Senator McConnell for his efforts: “The Drug Overdose Prevention for Kentucky grant affords Kentucky the opportunity to enhance integration of our prescription drug monitoring program (KASPER) reports with electronic health records to improve physician workflow. A Drug Overdose Technical Assistance Center will be established at KIPRC to provide targeted drug overdose data to local communities to inform drug overdose prevention interventions and policies. On behalf of the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, we would like to thank Senator McConnell for advocating on our behalf to the CDC for state drug overdose prevention funding.” Dr. Bunn Terry is the principal investigator for this competitive grant.

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