To stop future overdoses and higher perceive these most affected by the disaster, Austin Public Well being created a brand new opioid overdose dashboard that offers the general public entry to knowledge on opioid overdoses.
The dashboard gathers knowledge throughout a number of sources, together with Austin/Travis County EMS, Travis County Well being and Human Providers and the Travis County Medical Examiner, and permits Austin Public Well being to speak the information to the general public in a single location, mentioned Janet Pichette, the chief epidemiologist at Austin Public Well being.
“Throughout our COVID response, we arrange an preliminary dashboard, and it grew to be two or three dashboards,” Pichette mentioned. “What’s going to occur on this scenario as nicely, as we get extra strong knowledge and knowledge, our dashboard will evolve to offer significantly better data.”
By together with statistics on deadly overdoses, non-fatal overdoses, overdose hospitalizations and Narcan distribution, the dashboard permits epidemiologists at Austin Public Well being to investigate which communities are extra susceptible to opioid overdoses. Pichette mentioned visualizing this knowledge in a single place will assist goal prevention efforts and perceive the effectiveness of these efforts.
“Once I say prevention, it may very well be outreach efforts like ensuring that we get Narcan to sure populations or have it obtainable so bystanders know easy methods to use it and administer it if want be,” Pichette mentioned. “It’s not solely the distribution piece, but in addition the outreach and coaching on easy methods to use Narcan accurately for harmless bystanders, relations or first responders who may use it as nicely.”
Longhorn EMS, a scholar authorities company selling public well being, gives drug security workshops for scholar organizations by way of its hurt discount committee. Sachi Kulkarni, a public well being senior and the director of the hurt discount committee, mentioned that whereas the dashboard helps funnel sources the place crucial, training must be the primary focus.
“If I or any of us can do something to enhance training on easy methods to use Narcan to reverse an opioid overdose, easy methods to acknowledge overdose signs, easy methods to assist a good friend, and easy methods to save a life, I believe that’s actually necessary going ahead,” Kulkarni mentioned. “I believe that bystanders and strangers and people varieties of individuals must be empowered with any such data as a result of which may be the factor that saves an individual’s life.”
Pichette mentioned the overdose dashboard would ultimately operate as only one piece of a collaborative knowledge hub of many group sources. She mentioned the information hub would come with details about the place one can get hold of Narcan, coaching sources on easy methods to use Narcan, restoration data and telephone numbers to request help anonymously.
“We’ve been working with hurt discount and a bunch of group organizations in addition to our first responders and different metropolis and county departments to get as a lot data for the group,” Pichette mentioned. “Hopefully, we’ll have the ability to collaborate and put that each one collectively in that knowledge, which can present sources to the group.”