Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $2,000,000)
According to the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) in Washington, DC, in 2022, there were 448 opioid-related fatal overdoses, with an average of 37 deaths per month. Most of these overdoses resulted from illicit fentanyl, as 96% of opioid-related overdose deaths involved fentanyl or a fentanyl analog. Of the 448 opioid-related deaths, 13.4% were attributed to prescription Opioids. Furthermore, regarding demographics, Opioid overdose deaths disproportionally affected African Americans, who accounted for 85% of the deaths. The majority of the decedents resided in wards 5,7 and 8.
The rise in opioid deaths in the District of Columbia is an issue that requires a multifactorial and targeted approach. The District of Columbia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and staff from the Pharmaceutical Control Division (the Division the program resides in) seek to build upon an already established program to help ease the burden of Opioid fatalities in the District. The program's continued use, along with increased staffing to support the intended activities, will have a significant impact.
In summary, the grant funding will be used to support and build upon existing programs. The programs that will be supported include a portion of the District of Columbia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) contract and staff. These staff will help improve PDMP compliance by dispensers and healthcare providers required to register with the program. Staff will also support the existing DC PDMP Advisory committee. Staff will facilitate quarterly training that will educate providers on the different features of the PDMP Aware platform. Lastly, staff will have further outreach to encourage PDMP data both intrastate and interstate as well as engage with community stakeholders to encourage integration of the DC PDMP with in their Electronic Health records (EHRs), Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) and Pharmacy management Systems PMS.
Furthermore, the funds will further support providers by maintaining a clinician warm-line. DC Health has and will continue a partnership with the District Addiction Consultation Service (DACS), which supports prescribers across the city. In addition to the warmline, the DACS will provide bimonthly opioid training that offers continuing education credits to providers.