CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cuyahoga County Board of Health will get $13.2 million to help it curb opioid-related overdoses and deaths.
The grant, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be made over three years. It will be used to collect and analyze data on fatal and nonfatal drug overdoses in order to better understand the opioid epidemic and pinpoint hot spots, said Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan.
The key is integrating data from many different sources to see how the epidemic is evolving, Allan said.
“We’ve had lags in the availability of data,” he said. “This will make us better at preventing fatalities.”
The CDC grant will be announced at a press conference scheduled for 10 a.m., Friday, at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, 5550 Venture Dr., Parma.
Ohio had an estimated 4,002 overdose deaths in 2018, a significant drop from the 5,155 estimated in 2017, according to statistics released in July by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overdose deaths also decreased last year across the country, the first such drop in nearly three decades.
Deaths also fell last year in Cuyahoga County, dropping to 560 compared to a record-setting 727 in 2017. But preliminary data through June 13 suggests they may increase to approximately 637 this year.
Under the Overdose Data to Action program — a three-year program managed by the CDC that focuses on the opioid epidemic — the county board of health will receive $4.4 million in the first year. CCBH is one of 78 organizations nationwide to receive this funding, the board said in a press release.
Overdose Data to Action supports grant recipients in obtaining improved data about overdose deaths in order to improve ongoing surveillance, prevention and response efforts.
Organizations that receive funding will focus on a variety of strategies, including collection and disseminating timely data about suspected overdoses and descriptions of drug overdose death circumstances; and improving partnerships with first responders, according to the press statement.
Drug abuse prevention strategies will look at ways to link people to medically assisted treatment, as well as peer-to-peer forms of support, Allan said.
CCBH will work with other Overdose Data to Action grant recipients in Ohio to share best practices. Those recipients include the Ohio Department of Health, Franklin County Public Health and Hamilton County Public Health.