CDC awards Virginia $4.9 million to address opioid epidemic

    Virginia Mercury

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded Virginia two grants totaling $4.9 million to increase its prevention and response efforts related to the opioid epidemic.

    The state’s Department of Health received a little over $4 million to increase its emergency response, including recovery, mitigation and surveillance and data collection.

    “These resources will be used to support and advance our understanding of the opioid addiction crisis in the Commonwealth and help inform our decision-making as we continue the VDH mission to protect the health and promote the well-being of all people in Virginia,” said Dr. M. Norman Oliver, the state’s health commissioner, in a news release.

    And the Department of Forensic Science was awarded $948,000 in equipment and supplies that will help it automate sample preparation at each of the department’s four laboratories, as well as to develop better information on the concentrations of fentanyl, a highly powerful illicit drug, in postmortem cases.

    According to a news release, the automation should reduce the preparation time for cocaine and opioid testing from six to two hours.