Grant Will Improve Drug Use Data, Prevention in Texas
Oct. 26: This release was updated to clarify the organizations that will be using the prevention funding.
A nearly $4 million grant will help Texas implement policies and programs to prevent the use of dangerous drugs like fentanyl. The Texas Department of State Health Services and Texas Health and Human Services Commission are partnering to create new tools to analyze the causes and effects of drug poisonings and then use that information to develop science-based strategies to prevent drug use and poisonings.
“This funding will allow us to link multiple types of data together and provide a more complete picture of drug poisonings in Texas,” said DSHS Commissioner Jennifer Shuford, MD. “The ultimate goal is to share that information with state leaders, experts and other partners so solutions can be developed and put in place more quickly.”
About $1.6 million of the five-year Overdose Data to Action grant will focus on data, allowing DSHS to expand and modernize public health information on fatal and non-fatal drug poisonings and more effectively analyze data from multiple sources. DSHS, HHSC and partners will use the remaining $2.3 million to identify, develop and implement solutions based on the data.
“It’s important to understand the realities that individuals with substance use disorder face and what communities need to support them” said Michelle Alletto, Chief Program and Services Officer for HHSC. “Our mission is to save lives and continue to find data-informed approaches to prevent, reduce, and eliminate substance use and misuse.”
Last year, 4,921 Texans, 13 per day, died from drug poisonings. Nearly half of those, 2,189, were associated with fentanyl. Fentanyl-related deaths increased nearly 600 percent from 2019 to 2022.
October is Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Month in Texas. Established by Governor Abbott and state lawmakers, the awareness month is an effort to highlight the dangers of fentanyl and the life-saving power of naloxone. Learn more about the signs of fentanyl poisoning, hear testimonials, and find resources that are available to prevent opioid misuse and overdose at OnePillKillsTX.com.
The Overdose Data to Action grant was awarded to states and local jurisdictions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help understand and track the complex and changing nature of the drug overdose crisis on a local, state and national level.
(News Media Contact: Chris Van Deusen, Director of Media Relations, 512-776-7119)