The Indiana State Department of Health has received a three-year, $21 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that will bolster the state’s efforts to prevent and detect drug overdoses.

The grant, beginning Sept. 1, provides more than $7.1 million a year. The funds will be used to collect better data and apply it to create prevention programs that will further the state’s critical response to the drug epidemic.

“Governor Eric Holcomb’s Next Level Recovery initiative is saving lives and helping people recover from substance use disorder,” said Jim McClelland, Indiana’s executive director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement. “This grant supports our vital prevention and treatment efforts as we continue to combat the drug crisis in our state and connect more people to care.”

Indiana has made significant progress collaborating with hospital systems and practitioners. More than 18,000 Hoosier prescribers currently use an integrated electronic medical record dashboard connected to the state’s prescription drug monitoring program to evaluate their patient opioid prescriptions and prevent dangerous drug interactions. The state will remain in communication with federal partners to ensure Indiana’s successful PDMP continues to gain momentum.

Initiatives include collecting better data on overdoses treated at hospital emergency rooms, so providers can respond to emerging threats more quickly.

Another is to enhance Indiana’s INSPECT, the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, to provide health records electronically to small physician practices and improve real-time access to patient prescription histories.

The grant could create online opioid prescribing courses for dentists and post-overdose treatment protocols for emergency departments. A partnership with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration would be formed to establish linkages to care by supporting transportation costs for ride-booking services to treatment centers.

Providing harm reduction training to law enforcement is another initiative, as well as partnering with the Indiana Department of Corrections to train inmates as peer educators to decrease rates of hepatitis C among high-risk populations.

These strategies are another step in Indiana’s multiagency, multipronged response in coordination to tackle the drug epidemic. Preliminary data from the CDC shows that fewer Hoosiers died of a drug overdose in 2018 compared to 2017. Indiana reported a 12 percent decline in the number of overdose deaths in Indiana last year, improving faster than the national average. The CDC attributes this decline to community efforts, improved treatment, fewer opioid prescriptions and expanded access to overdose-reversing drugs.

“We know that our combined efforts are protecting more Hoosiers from the dangers of substance use disorder,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG. “With this grant, we will be able to better understand the problem and take informed action to save even more lives.”

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