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For decades, the United States has struggled to build a national system to track opioid overdoses.
Critics, including Rep. David Torrone (D., Md.), said the lack of accurate real-time data made it difficult for health officials to respond as black market painkillers, heroin and illicit fentanyl flooded communities. He says it’s getting harder.
“It’s a colossal failure of the government,” Mr. Trohn said in an interview with NPR. “I’m running out of excuses.”
On Thursday morning, the Biden administration moved to close the data gap, New website announcement Track non-fatal opioid overdoses.
The site is updated every two weeks with reports collected at the county level by EMS first responders in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
With better information, many deaths could have been prevented
Officials say information will help shape Medical response in the event of overdose clusters in different parts of the country.
This could include rapid distribution of naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses, to communities facing an increase in overdose incidents.
“We could see tens of thousands more lives saved,” Dr. Rahul Gupta, the head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. .
Gupta said the website “provides first responders, clinicians and policy makers with real-time, actionable information to improve response.”
this is The overdose crisis hit a deadly new record last yearthe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and 107,622 drug deaths reported.
Gupta said many of these deaths could have been prevented with better information and better, more targeted addiction treatment.
“This is a big step, an important first step.”
Data for the new website is managed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which collects EMS data.
Authorities recognize this data collection and reporting system It provides a definitive snapshot of drug overdoses.
It focuses entirely on opioids, the leading cause of drug death, while excluding cocaine, methamphetamine, and other substances.
This website also does not include information from hospitals, schools, corporate non-profit organizations, and academic programs that collect information about non-fatal overdoses.
“This doesn’t include every part of every overdose that happens,” Gupta said. “This is the beginning of system building.”
He said data collection systems will improve over time. Despite its limitations, some addiction experts praised the new program.
“I think it’s a big step and an important first step,” says Erin Altigiani of the University of Maryland’s Center for Substance Abuse Research.
“I think it’s important to have complete, relatively real-time data, and that’s something researchers and policy makers alike have been talking about for some time.”
The stakes in this initiative are high.A study published this year by The Lancet medical journal The United States is expected to see another 1.2 million opioid overdose deaths in the next decade.
The hope is that better and faster information can save many of those lives.
https://www.npr.org/2022/12/08/1141312999/white-house-new-system-track-prevent-opioid-overdose Opioid overdoses are better tracked and stopped with this new system: NPR