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Combating the Opioid Crisis: The U.S. Health and Human Services Department Announces a New Round of Funding

On September 4th, 2019, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department announced a new round of funding to combat the growing opioid epidemic facing the United States at approximately $1.8 billion.

Where is that money being allocated you ask? Nearly $900 million is going to local agencies to increase their understanding of the opioid overdoses that are occurring in their communities. This effort is in partnership with Center’s for Disease Control (CDC) who is urgently trying to collect better data surrounding opioid use and misuse.

Their goal: track overdose data as close to real time as possible to help develop a better understanding of where these overdoses are taking place in order to save more lives.

View Opioid Statistics at state and county levels.


Deathly Data

In 2017 there were over 47,000 opioid related deaths recorded across the United States. This deadly outcome does not discriminate against any race, sex, or age group. Over 16,000 people who identify as white were killed. Over 15,000 women lost their lives to opioid overdoses and that was only half the number experienced by their male counterparts. Finally, in the last eighteen years, opioid abuse has most largely increased in the 25-34 age group, from 4.1 deaths in 1999 to 29.1 deaths (per 100,000 people) in 2017.


This stark increased number of deaths over the years has finally drawn the attention of the federal government. This funding has a huge potential to launch more local agencies into the future with better data communication programs. Many of our customers are already improving their processes to incorporate opioid dashboards where they can monitor the problem with data being updated monthly, weekly or even nightly.

LiveStories Opioid Reports

Cooperation and data sharing at every level of local government is critical to combatting the epidemic our nation faces, and this new round of funding could be just what local authorities need to really make a difference in their communities. According to the CDC and SAMHSA there is over $300 million dollars being sent to 47 agencies across the U.S. to specifically address data improvement process that could return better outcomes for their communities.

Below you can filter the chart by state to see how much is going to any state receiving funding. The number below represents the average amount of money being dolled out.


About the Data

The data in this article was queried from CDC Wonder, based on the following parameters:

UCD codes: F11.0, X40-X44, X60-X64, X85, Y10-Y14

MCD codes: T40.0-T40.4, T40.6

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Exploring California's Opioid Data

Dried opium plants in Afghanistan; photo by  U.S. Marine Corps .

Dried opium plants in Afghanistan; photo by U.S. Marine Corps.

LiveStories includes data on opioid-related prescriptions, deaths, and hospitalizations for all 58 counties in California, made available from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Exploring this data provides valuable insights on where and how the opioid crisis hits hardest in the state. For example, you can see how opioid deaths are more concentrated in northern counties (all data is per 100,000 residents):

Many experts trace the roots of the opioid crisis to the overprescription of opioid pain relievers, beginning in the late 1990’s. Health experts now recognize that prescription opioids are dangerously addictive, and in many California counties, opioid prescription rates have stabilized or decreased.

But legal prescription opioids are just one side of the epidemic. Even if legal opioids become harder to obtain, illegal opioids—notably heroin—are surging in popularity, and are often cheaper and more accessible than prescription opioids. The geographical pattern for heroin deaths is also different for overall opioid deaths:

At LiveStories, we’re familiar with this data from our work with the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF), a coalition of county-based groups dedicated to tackling the opioid epidemic at the local level. We've highlighted the vital work they do in a previous post. Now, the data underlying their work is available to anyone with a LiveStories subscription.

Obviously, the opioid epidemic spreads beyond California. LiveStories is working to add opioid data for all counties and states in America, and our library already includes data on overall drug poisoning rates. You can get a customized report for your county here: