Vermont Business Magazine Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced today that the Vermont Department of Health will receive a three-year, $9.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support a comprehensive statewide response to opioid-related overdoses, while strengthening Vermont’s prevention efforts.
The grant will increase the state’s ability to track and respond to overdoses, including those resulting in death; strengthen Vermont’s Prescription Drug Monitoring System, and provide overdose prevention trainings around the state, working with local communities – including libraries -- to better identify overdose risks and strengthen outreach efforts.
Leahy said: “I’m proud of the work our state has done to tackle to the opioid epidemic. This grant will enable the Vermont Department of Health and its partners to take that work to the next level, responding in real time to overdose cases and supporting prevention efforts in our communities. We know what works, but we must make sure that knowledge is reaching even our smallest towns and villages. The risks posed by opioids knows no bounds.”
“The opioid crisis is the most complex public health challenge of our time,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “Over the past five years we have built a strong intervention, prevention and treatment infrastructure for getting Vermonters the supports and services they need. With thanks to Senator Leahy, this grant will allow us to ensure our prevention programming and policies are driven by the most comprehensive and current data available.”
The CDC grant, nearly $3.2 million a year over three years, will also allow the Health Department to conduct a thorough review of 2018 drug-related fatalities and see where those who died had previous interactions with state systems. Vermont recorded 110 opioid-related deaths in 2018, up slightly from 108 deaths in 2017.
Collecting and sharing information on overdose cases in a timely manner can also result in public warnings where one community may be experiencing a highly lethal strain of fentanyl or heroin, Leahy noted.
“We know we cannot rid our communities of these deadly drugs, but we know that sounding the alarm early can often save lives,” said Leahy, who worked to include $475 million in the 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services spending bill in support of the CDC’s overdose prevention work.
Overdose Data to Action Grant
The Health Department has been awarded a three-year, $9.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The purpose of the grant is to increase the state’s ability to track and respond to overdoses and overdose fatalities.
This funding will strengthen Vermont’s Prescription Drug Monitoring System and prevention efforts already underway across the state.
Award: $3.2 M /year for three years (Sept. 1, 2019 - August 30, 2022)
DATA – Surveillance Strategies
- Emergency Department Overdose Data – Collect and report ED data on suspected all- drug, opioid, heroin and stimulant overdoses, including descriptions of circumstances of death using death certificates and medical examiner/coroner data. Identify counties with high rates of ED visits due to overdoses, and drug-related fatalities.
- Social Autopsy – Link overdose data with risk/protective factor data via a social autopsy. Using 2018 accidental/undetermined drug-related fatalities among Vermont residents who died in state, examine where those who died had interactions with state systems.
ACTION – Prevention Strategies
- Vermont Prescription Monitoring System – Implement pharmacy audit protocols to assure data uploaded into the VPMS system are complete and accurate.
- Overdose Prevention Training – Provide overdose prevention training statewide: how to recognize signs of an overdose and administer naloxone, opioid-related risks, prevention strategies and links to local treatment providers. Work with Corrections Dept. to provide training in all six state correctional facilities, and outreach to community partners such as homeless and warming shelters, restorative justice centers, libraries and Department for Children & Families’ district offices.
- Community Action Grants – Four community organizations in counties with high overdoses/fatalities will collaborate with stakeholders to build local capacity to prevent/address opioid overdoses: Bennington County Southwestern Vermont Health Care Opioid Response Team; Rutland County United Way; Windham County Consortium of Substance Use (Health Care & Rehabilitation Services); Windsor County Mt. Ascutney Health Care.
- Pediatric Medical Home Care Coordination – Embeds family support specialists in pediatric medical homes to provide substance use disorder screening, care coordination and connections to services and treatment. With this grant, we are proposing to add three additional sites to provide medication-assisted treatment to serve 300 families.
- Case Managers for Syringe Service Providers – Four organizations, running one mobile syringe service and seven permanent programs, will hire case managers for their clients to better navigate treatment for opioid use and HIV or viral hepatitis care, and support clients’ connections to other health, mental health, community and recovery services.
- Lab Provider Portal Maintenance – The Health Department Laboratory is developing a means for providers to electronically generate test requests and receive test results, with the goal of improving information flow and patient care.
- Motivational Interviewing and Compassion Training – Opioid users report they do not call for emergency assistance in overdose situations due to negative experiences in past interactions with emergency personnel. This training for EMS personnel in areas with the highest need is aimed at increasing positive interactions with overdose patients.
- Quality Improvement for Opioid Prescribers – The Heath Department will partner with UVM Medical Center’s Office of Primary Care to continue our work with prescribers, and analysis of prescribing data to ID trends and workflow improvements to ensure prescribers adhere to Vermont Pain Rules.
- Academic Detailing with Pharmacists – UVM’s Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Detailing Program will modify sessions to address pharmacist compliance with Vermont Pain Rules and patients’ concerns with filling naloxone prescriptions.
- SIREN Data Integration – By law, all 80 transporting ambulance agencies must enter their electronic patient care reporting into the SIREN system each day; 35 first response agencies voluntarily report. This results in near real-time data. The SIREN data integration hospital package will allow better communication between EMS destination hospitals and SIREN patient care reports, providing a wider picture of individual opioid overdose situations.
- Stigma Training for First Responders/Medical Providers – VT CARES will provide training to further understanding of the challenges and stigma drug users face, to be offered statewide, with targeted outreach in areas with the highest need.
- Naloxone Program Coordination – The Health Department’s naloxone public health administrator will oversee planning, administrative, and consultative work of the state’s naloxone distribution program. Includes training partner agency staff.
- Pregnant Women & Substance Use Communication – Vermont has among the highest rates of substance use during pregnancy in the nation. Based on Vermont data and qualitative research, this multi-tiered social marketing strategy will focus on pregnant women, their circles of support, and prenatal providers.
· Afterschool Youth, Inc. – This project will support a statewide Youth Voice coordinator and creation of a Youth Council to amplify youth voices and provide a deeper understanding of the connection between afterschool activity and prevention efforts.
Source: BURLINGTON, Vt. (TUESDAY, Sept. 3, 2019) -- Senator Patrick Leahy