State selected for program to reduce prescription drug abuse

KHI News Service

— A group from Kansas has been selected to participate in a federal program to combat prescription drug abuse.

The program by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration focuses on increasing access to and use of intervention and treatment resources, developing a state strategic plan for treatment and building evidence-based strategies to address prescription drug abuse.

Although Kansas ranked as the eighth lowest state in terms of drug overdose fatalities, with a rate of 9.6 per 100,000 in 2010, that number of drug overdose fatalities in Kansas has nearly tripled from the rate of 3.4 per 100,000 reported in 1999.

Among youth, prescription drug misuse and abuse is also of concern, with about one in 10 Kansas students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 reporting at least one occasion of lifetime use of prescription drugs not prescribed for them in 2013.

Ten people from Kansas will attend the federal program in August in Bethesda, Maryland. The group will include staff from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, the Kansas Department for Children and Families and the Kansas Department of Health and the Environment, plus representatives of a Kansas methadone clinic, the Prairie Band tribe and an evaluation/data specialist from the state epidemiological profile workgroup.

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