CDC gives $500K for Arizona opioid epidemic

KINGMAN – The Arizona Department of Health Services has received a grant of $505,104 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address the opioid epidemic in Arizona.

This money is in addition to the $3.6 million CDC grant that was awarded to the health department in 2015, with funds released in January to six Arizona counties with the highest overdose rates and other prescription drug abuse.

Those counties were Mohave, Gila, Maricopa, Navajo, Pima and Yavapai.

Arizona, with the 15th-highest drug overdose rate in the nation in 2014, is one of 16 states to receive the CDC funding. Arizona Department of Health Services manages the grant.

The money will be used to sharpen awareness about the dangers of prescription drugs, including access to children and teens, said Michelle Valandingham, program coordinator for Mohave County Public Health.

The grant supports a state-mandated program to monitor and control drug prescriptions, and to implement prevention strategies through the six county health departments.

The strategies encourage responsible prescribing and dispensing policies and practices, increased assessment and treatment referral, and enhanced public awareness of the problem.

“We have made steady progress on addressing the opioid epidemic in our state, but have a lot of work to do,” said Cara Christ, director of Arizona Department of Health Services. “The additional funding will help us address critical issues that are contributing to the crisis.”