The Department of Health and Human Services today announced that it will distribute $53 million in funding to 44 states, four tribes and the District of Columbia to be used in the battle against opioid addiction. The funding will pay for improved data collection and analysis around opioid misuse and overdose with a focus on improving access to treatment for opioid use disorders, curbing deaths and bolstering prevention efforts. “The epidemic of opioid use disorders involving the non-medical use of prescription opioid pain relievers and the use of heroin has had a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities across our nation,” Kana Enomoto, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s principal deputy administrator, said in a statement. The funding is part of the HHS Opioid Initiative, which was launched in March 2015, and is focused on improving opioid prescribing practices as well as providing more access to medication-assisted treatment and increasing the use of naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses. The effort will be led by SAMHSA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “States are on the frontline of preventing prescription opioid overdoses,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., said in a statement. “It is critical that state health departments have the support they need to combat the epidemic.”