Cline said the state Health Department will use this money to respond to a public health crisis — prescription drug abuse — as they would with a flu or virus outbreak.
“CDC has declared the misuse of prescription drugs and associated deaths as a public health epidemic in our country,” Cline said. “Oklahoma has one of the highest overdose death rates and one of the highest overprescribing rates in the country. This grant from CDC will allow us to better utilize the prescription drug monitoring program, which we know is one of the most effective clinical tools for appropriate prescribing that is available.”
A recent law change in Oklahoma has allowed the Health Department and the state Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Department to have access to data from the state drug monitoring program.
Terri White, the state mental health commissioner, said this money will allow the agencies to work together to take the large amount of data available through the drug program and implement preventive strategies in communities with high rates of abuse.
The money also will be used to find Medicaid recipients who might be abusing prescription drugs and also doctors with questionable prescribing behaviors, White said.
“The most exciting part of the grant is — we have articulated the vision of the advancements and accomplishments we can make now that we’re sharing data from the prescription drug monitoring system with the department of mental health and also the public health department,” White said. “It’s exciting we will have resources to invest and support this vision.”