The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC), which is housed within the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, is one of only five awardees in the country to receive a $1.08 Million grant to address prescription drug overdose prevention. KIPRC, which represents a unique partnership between the UK College of Public Health and the Kentucky State Department for Public Health, received the grant for a “Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Boost” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The award is provided over a three-year period and is designed to assist states that are prepared to take immediate steps toward reducing incidents of prescription drug overdose. Such actions to reduce the number of drug overdoses include the leveraging of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs and policy evaluation to understand the types of activities that work and make an impact.
Dr. Terry Bunn, the director of KIPRC, in describing the impact of this award, stated, “Kentucky has been a national leader in several aspects of prescription drug overdose prevention. This critical funding gives us the opportunity to highlight, evaluate, and build upon Kentucky’s previous efforts and groundwork in preventing prescription drug overdoses.”
Prescription drug overdoses in Kentucky are growing at a rate that nearly doubles the national average. In 2010, Kentucky had the third highest mortality rate from prescription drug overdoses (23.6 per 100,000), with the number of drug overdose deaths quadrupling since 1999. The national rate doubled in that same period of time.
Dr. Bunn notes that a need for interdisciplinary, multidimensional response is critical when addressing the complex problem of prescription drug overdose and abuse. “It is only through this type of collaboration…that we can understand and address this devastating yet preventable problem,” she said.