Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
Dec.23, 2015

Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9356

Nebraska Receives Second Grant for
Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention
Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services recently received $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice to help reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. The funding, $250,000 per year over two years, is part of the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program grants. 
“Part of a successful PDMP is accessibility,” said Jenifer Roberts-Johnson, Deputy Director of Public Health for DHHS. “Through this grant, DHHS is working with the Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NeHII) to make the state PDMP more accessible to health care professionals who prescribe and dispense medications by providing free online access to a patient’s medication history. Expanding the number of providers using the system can help improve patient care.”
“The PDMP is an effective tool which prescribers and pharmacists can use to make a more informed decision for patient care and to help identify issues related to substance abuse or fraudulent prescriptions of narcotics and other controlled substances,” said Kevin Borcher, PharmD, RP, Pharmacist Representative, Nebraska State Board of Health.
By statute, the state’s PDMP is housed within NeHII which is Nebraska’s statewide, internet-based, health information exchange.
“Using the health information exchange to house Nebraska’s PDMP is innovative and efficient,” said Deb Bass, CEO of NeHII. “Providers and patients have the benefit of medical records and prescription drug information being housed in one common location. We welcome the opportunity to continue to build a user-friendly, effective system.”
This is Nebraska’s second grant in 2015 for prescription drug overdose prevention. In September, DHHS received just over $3 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those funds will also help advance prevention in many ways including working with partners to establish prescribing guidelines, increasing provider and patient education and also enhancing Nebraska’s prescription drug monitoring program.
Fast facts about prescription drug use, abuse and deaths in Nebraska:
  • In 2014, drugs and medications –prescription drugs, illicit drugs, and over-the-counter medications, - were the underlying cause of death for 81% of all poisoning deaths. Of all drug overdose deaths, 74% were unintentional. (Source: Nebraska Vital Records)
  • In 2014, Nebraska’s drug overdose age-adjusted death rate was 7.1 per 100,000 up from 3.6 per 100,000 people in 2004. The U.S. age-adjusted drug overdose death rate per 100,000 people was 13.1 in 2012 and 9.3 in 2004. (Source: National Vital Statistics System)
  • 13th lowest state in rate (4.18) of non-medical use of prescription painkillers (2010-2011).  (Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health

For more information, see Nebraska – Special Emphasis Report – Drug Overdose Deaths, 1999-2014 -