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New program targets research on reducing deaths due to prescription opioid overdose
Date:10/5/2010

PROVIDENCE, RI A $250,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will support a Rhode Island Hospital research study aimed at reducing the state's leading cause of accidental death among adults. Researchers will explore the use and effectiveness of statewide prescription monitoring programs (PMP) in reducing the number of accidental overdose deaths involving prescription opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin in both Rhode Island and Connecticut. The grant is one of only two projects awarded nationally this year by CDC for unintentional poisoning research.

The study will also involve a rapid assessment and response project, a community-driven process that gathers information and locally-relevant recommendations to address a pressing health problem. The projects will focus on two communities one in Rhode Island and one in Connecticut that have been identified as more hard-hit by prescription opioid abuse and overdose deaths.

Overdose claims the lives of nearly two RI residents each week, making its mortality rate more prevalent than that of motor vehicle accidents. Nationally, more overdose deaths are caused by prescription drugs than all illegal drugs combined. Surveillance data from 2007 ranked RI among the top third in the country for prescription opioid abuse.

With this in mind, Traci Green, PhD, MSc, a research scientist with Rhode Island Hospital, will lead the study that will investigate PMPs in both Rhode Island and Connecticut to understand how they may positively impact these growing trends. Green says, "The problem of prescription opioid abuse and overdose is at a critical point. We've seen that prescription monitoring programs can influence diversion and access to medications that could potentially be abused, but they are also a source of unique public health data on how much drug is being prescribed, to whom, by whom, and when and where these medications are being filled." Green comments further,
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Contact: Nancy Cawley Jean
njean@lifespan.org
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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