Pitt School of Social Work Professor Receives $400,000 CDC Grant to Study Opioid Pain Medication Abuse



September 23, 2014      
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:  Shannon Murphy
[412-648-9404 (office); 412-335-4457 (cell); shm87@pitt.edu]

Pitt School of Social Work Professor Receives $400,000 CDC Grant to Study Opioid Pain Medication Abuse

Aims to examine whether new policies can reduce overdoses and misuse

PITTSBURGH--- University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work Assistant Professor Jerry Cochran, in collaboration with Associate Professor Dr. Julie Donohue of the Pitt Graduate School of Public Health, has received a $399,898, 2-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to examine how preferred drug list policies impact opioid pain medication overdoses and misuse.

Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the US and has become a major public health concern not only in the medical community, but for policymakers as well.

The study will use data from ten Pennsylvania Medicaid programs to identify if existing preferred drug list policies have had any impact on overdoses and abuse. If these current policies are found to effectively diminish overdose and misuse, important future research can explore possible expansion.

The study has major implications not only for Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program, but for other Medicaid programs across the country.

Because preferred drug lists have shown to reduce use of other classes of medications, this research could provide important insight into policy level interventions for opioid medication misuse,” says Cochran.

The research will increase knowledge in the health policy arena regarding factors contributing to the current epidemic and will establish critical evidence to enable policymakers to more effectively confront this issue and improve public health. 

###