Minnesota Department of Human Services Receives Grant to End Prescription Medication Abuse
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS)has received a $1.6 five-year grant to help reduce the abuse of opioid pain medication.
The grant was recieved from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Minnesota Department of Health also received an HHS grant of about $900,000 over a three-year period as part of the CDC Prescription Drug Overdose: Data-Driven Prevention Initiative.
Deaths from drug overdoses have been rising steadily over the past two decades. Opioid pain reliever overdose deaths have nearly doubled in the last decade, from 111 in 2005 to 216 in 2015, according to the Minnesota DHS. Between 2004 and 2009, emergency department visits resulting from opioid use and misuse had nearly doubled.
Opioids include prescription medications used to treat pain, such as morphine, codeine, methadone, OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Fentanyl and buprenorphine, as well as illegal drugs such as heroin. Opioids can be an effective tool for pain management but can also result in physical dependency in some patients.
“The cost to the people who become dependent on these powerful drugs — as well as the cost to their families, to the community and to the state — is staggering,” said DHS Commissioner Emily Piper. “This is a problem that needs to be tackled from many angles. Treatment is key, but so is prevention, so that more people can avoid the struggle of dependence in the first place.”
With the grant, the DHS plans to raise awareness on dangers of sharing medications, work with pharmaceutical and medical companies on risks of over prescribing and raise community awareness.