PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In small towns and big cities, the battle against the opioid problem is a devastating one.
For the most part, it is neither being won, nor is it slowing down. The CDC says in 2017 alone, more than 5,300 people died because of drug overdoses across Pennsylvania.
Police and paramedics are on the front lines as they come face-to-face with the problem on a daily basis.
Now, the state has just launched a new online tool called the Opioid Data Dashboard, which shows opioid overdose data county-by-county, pin-pointing areas where drug overdoses are doing the most damage. At the same time, it breaks down visits to emergency rooms and links prevention and treatment options.
Acting Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, said, “We need really good data to target our resources.”
The database will also provide other information online as well, including the number of babies born to addicted mothers.
With the new program, state officials are hoping first responders and others will know upfront which communities are making progress in the ongoing addiction battle, or are in need more help and improvement in drug treatment and prevention programs.
“The data dashboard is a living document. So, we will continue to refine and have new data streams coming in to inform everyone on our initiatives, as well as other communities and the public as well, so we have complete transparent access to what we’re doing,” Dr. Levine said.