Ohio launches data dashboards to track opioid overdoses, substance-use measures

Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 4:39 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio launched new data dashboards to better track and report data on opioid overdose deaths and other substance-use related measures for all 88 counties, Gov. Mike DeWine announced on March 7.

The statewide dashboards report on 55 opioid-related measures, including:

  • overdose deaths
  • overdoses treated in emergency departments
  • EMS events involving naloxone administration
  • individuals receiving and being continuously enrolled in treatment
  • high-risk prescribing
  • naloxone units distributed by Project DAWN

The Ohio Department of Health reported a total of 5,017 people in Ohio died from unintentional drug overdoses in 2020, which was a 25% increase from 2019.

“The dashboards allow us to use real-time research to focus prevention, treatment and recovery programs across the state in a transparent platform available to the public,” said Aimee Shadwick, director of RecoveryOhio. “Eventually, we will expand these databases to not only include data on opioid use disorders, but all substance use disorders.”

These statewide dashboards are an expansion of those created by the HEALing Communities Study, which investigated how tools for preventing and treating opioid misuse, opioid use disorder, and opioid overdose are most effective at the local level.

This National Institutes of Health-funded implementation study was the largest ever conducted in addition research.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine researchers teamed up for the study to develop community-tailored, data-driven dashboards for 18 Ohio counties that tracked opioid overdose deaths and other opioid use disorder-related measures.

The communities within those 18 counties partnered with researchers and used the dashboards’ public health data to decide which evidence-based interventions to implement to reduce opioid overdoses and misuse.

The success of these dashboards in the initial 18 counties in the study led the State of Ohio to implement them statewide with RecoveryOhio.

“Expanding the HEALing Communities Study dashboards to all 88 Ohio counties provides invaluable data that will allow local organizations and communities to better plan for their needs as they battle this public health crisis in our state – and ultimately save lives,” said Governor DeWine.

The State of Ohio shared this information on the study:

“Beginning in 2019, The Ohio State University has led a consortium of academic, state and community partners on the Ohio portion of the HEALing Communities Study, which is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative.

The Ohio consortium brings together experts from four universities — Ohio State, University of Cincinnati, Case Western Reserve University and Ohio University — along with leaders from state agencies and community organizations. The HEALing Communities Study involves about 125 faculty and staff working along with the state’s RecoveryOhio initiative.”

RecoveryOhio will offer virtual training and virtual “office hours” over the next several weeks to teach communities how best to implement the dashboards, which you can click here to learn more about.

“This dashboard project now benefitting all Ohio communities wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering support and vision of the late Dr. Rebecca Jackson of Ohio State, who led this project until her passing in October,” said Bridget Freisthler, professor and dean of research at Ohio State’s College of Social Work who is now leading the Ohio HEALing Communities Study.

“In order to create transformative change, you have to start with little steps,” said Timothy Huerta, associate dean for Research Information Technology at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine and director of Biomedical Informatics at Ohio State’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science. “The HEALing Communities Study served as kindling for having conversations about what was possible, and we are excited that this intervention will continue beyond the study period.”