CDC’s Data Used to Monitor Drug Misuse

CDC is helping states build capacity for the reporting of public health data so the states will be able to monitor the scope of the drug epidemic and find better ways to focus prevention activities on several programs and activities.

CDC’s Overdose Prevention in States (OPIS) program provides resources and scientific support to 45 states and Washington D.C. First, the Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States (PFS) and the Data-Driven Prevention Initiative (DDPI) provides states with the resources, tools, and technical expertise to execute and evaluate prevention strategies. Hopefully, this will improve safe prescribing practices in order to prevent prescription drug misuse, abuse, and overdose.

CDC’s  “Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS) program program under OPIS, funds 32 states and Washington D.C. ESOOS strives to improve the timeliness of reporting both fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses and associated risk factors to inform public health responses within and across states.

The ESOOS program is unique in that the program uses emergency department and EMS data to track and analyze morbidity data. This data is used to establish an early warning system to detect sharp increases or decreases in fatal overdoses.

CDC had made progress in improving the timeliness of data reporting and is now releasing quarterly as of August 2017, monthly provisional counts of overall drug and opioid overdose deaths in their Vital Statistics Rapid Release series. CDC is also working to identify ways to help strengthen case management systems so data could be reported more easily and quickly.

CDC is also tracking opioid use among pregnant and reproductive-aged women and the impact on the mother and newborn as a part of the “Treating for Two: Safer Medication Use in Pregnancy” initiative”.

Pilot programs are underway to obtain state level estimates of the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) which is a postnatal drug withdrawal syndrome. The plan is to better understand hospital readmissions and long term adverse outcomes among infants identified with NAS.

In addition, the Heroin Response Strategy (HRS) funded by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is deployed in eight High Intensity Drug Trafficking areas (HIDTA) covering 20 states is able to link public health and public safety at the state level.

CDC works with HIDTA directors to sharpen strategic directions, ensure proper coordination and training, and supports the 20 public health analysts embedded in the program to improve performance measurement.

Through 2019, CDC plans to give selected states annual awards between $750,000 and $1 million to advance in four areas to:

  • Make PDMPs easier to use and access by improving opioid prescribing investigations for insurers and health systems
  • Evaluate policies to better understand what will work
  • Implement a project to advance an innovative prevention approach and how to better respond to new and emerging crisis situations
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