Press Release 2014

For Immediate Release: Thursday, August 14, 2014
Contact: CDC Media Relations 
(404) 639-3286

CDC awards over $1 Million to West Virginia to address prescription drug overdose prevention

Making a difference by serving as a model of prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that West Virginia will receive more than $1 million over the next three years to enhance its prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP).

The announcement was made last night by Daniel M. Sosin, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., acting director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at an event with U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (WV-3). Officials from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and National Institute of Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, were also in attendance.

The funding will help the state to develop and implement a Medicaid Patient Review and Restriction Program and evaluate its innovative prescription drug overdose prevention policies.

“Prescription drug overdose is an epidemic in the United States. We remain committed to providing states with the resources, expertise, and data they need to protect patients and save lives,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “States are at the front lines of this epidemic, and as the nation’s public health agency CDC is committed to helping them any way we can.”

West Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States.

  • West Virginia had 36.3 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people in 2011, nearly triple the U.S. rate (13.2/100,000). West Virginia also had 635 deaths from drug overdoses in 2011.
  • Prescription drugs – opioids and benzodiazepines in particular – are major drivers of the drug overdose deaths in West Virginia.

Opioid prescribing rates in West Virginia is among the highest in the country.

  • IMS Health: In 2012, West Virginia providers wrote 137.6 opioid pain reliever prescriptions per 100 people, the third highest prescribing rate in the country and far above the U.S. rate (82.5/100).

The Prescription Drug Overdose: Boost for State Prevention program will give states a surge of resources and direct support from CDC to advance the most promising prevention strategies. Overall, CDC has committed $6 million over the next three years to help five states (Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia), improve their prescription drug monitoring programs, advance innovative public insurance programs to prevent opioid abuse, and conduct rigorous state policy evaluations to sharpen our understanding of the most effective prevention strategies. The advances made by these states could then serve as a model for the rest of the country.

CDC’s Injury Center works to protect the safety of everyone, every day. For more information about prescription drug overdoses, please visit

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