The Opioid Abuse Advisory Committee met for the first time in Pierre on Wednesday.

South Dakota Department of Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said South Dakota’s number of deaths due to opioid overdose is not high, but even one death is too many. South Dakota is ranked 49th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia for age-adjusted drug overdose death rates from 2006 to 2014, with 7.8 deaths per 100,000 people in the state compared to the U.S. rate of 14.7 per 100,000.

Malsam-Rysdon said that the department received a Prescription Drug Overdose: Data-Driven Prevention Initiative (DDPI) grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The grant will support and build efforts to track and understand the full impact of opioid use and abuse in the state and work with partners to develop a strategic plan to address the issue.

The advisory committee, which is an important part of the grant project, will develop a needs assessment to identify other potential data sources, key stakeholders and gaps to help develop a strategic plan.

Agencies represented at the meeting provided brief updates of what they are doing to address the opioid abuse/misuse issue. They included the South Dakota Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (SD PDMP), Volunteers of America-Dakotas (VOA), the South Dakota Department of Social Services (SD DSS), the South Dakota State Medical Association (SDSMA), the South Dakota Board of Medicine and Osteopathic Examiners, the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO), the South Dakota Board of Pharmacy and Pharmacists Association, the South Dakota Department of Health (SD DOH), the Division of Criminal Investigators (DCI) and the South Dakota Legislature.

All referenced documents distributed at the meeting can be found on the Department of Health website at