CDC Com­bats Opi­oid Cri­sis With Health, Pre­scrip­tion Data

Health Data Management - - NEWSLINE - —G.S.

THE CEN­TERS FOR DIS­EASE AND Pre­ven­tion is try­ing to help stem the tide of opi­oid over­doses na­tion­wide through its pub­lic health data col­lec­tion and re­port­ing, as well as im­prove­ments to state-run elec­tronic data­bases for track­ing pre­scrip­tions.

CDC is “fund­ing an opi­oid sur­veil­lance pro­gram col­lect­ing timely data on both fa­tal and non-fa­tal over­doses so we can pin­point re­sources and re­sponses where needed most,” De­bra Houry, MD, direc­tor of the CDC’s Na­tional Cen­ter for In­jury Pre­ven­tion and Con­trol, told a Se­nate ap­pro­pri­a­tions sub­com­mit­tee.

Ac­cord­ing to Houry, CDC “has been on the front lines” of the cri­sis ever since it first iden­ti­fied the in­crease in opi­oid over­dose deaths in 2004, and “since then, the agency has ap­plied its sci­en­tific ex­per­tise to track the epi­demic and de­velop ev­i­dence-based pre­ven­tion strate­gies.” Nonethe­less, she ac­knowl­edged that the opi­oid epi­demic is “one of the few pub­lic health prob­lems that is get­ting worse in­stead of bet­ter,” with drug over­doses nearly tripling over the past two decades.

Still, Houry tes­ti­fied that the CDC’s En­hanced State Opi­oid Over­dose Sur­veil­lance (ESOOS) is lever­ag­ing emer­gency depart­ment and emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices data to bet­ter track and an­a­lyze mor­bid­ity data. She told law­mak­ers that the agency is im­prov­ing pub­lic health data col­lec­tion and re­port­ing to bet­ter un­der­stand the opi­oid cri­sis.

“We have im­proved re­port­ing of over­dose deaths from a lag of two years to seven months,” Houry tes­ti­fied. “As part of CDC’s fund­ing to states, we’ve im­ple­mented a pro­gram to get more re­li­able and timely data from emer­gency rooms, med­i­cal ex­am­in­ers and coroners.”

She noted that the CDC funds 45 states and Wash­ing­ton, DC, to im­ple­ment strate­gies to pre­vent opi­oid over­doses and im­prove state-run pre­scrip­tion drug mon­i­tor­ing pro­grams.

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