Statement of Purpose Opioid overdose represents an urgent public health problem in the United States, with Michigan ranking among the states hardest hit by the dramatic escalation over the past 15 years. A key barrier to addressing this problem is the lack of timely surveillance data, with data in many jurisdictions lagging by up to 18 months. In response to this need, the University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center partnered with the Michigan High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) to develop a near real-time opioid overdose surveillance system.
Methods/Approach The System for Opioid Overdose Surveillance (SOS) collects and automatically cleans data daily from emergency medicine services (EMS) encounters where naloxone was administered, and from Medical Examiner (ME) records where overdoses are suspected (confirmation via toxicology reports are obtained 4 to 12 weeks later). Current coverage is 100% of the state through EMS, and MEs in counties totaling 75% of the state population. County-level summaries generated by SOS are viewable on a public web site. Authorized public health and public safety stakeholders have access to a dashboard that allows customizable demographic and spatio-temporal data summaries in near real-time. This dashboard was designed in part through an iterative process with stakeholders in two Michigan counties.
Results Qualitative work completed with community stakeholders in two Michigan counties suggests SOS can be used to improve planning, implementation, and responses to opioid overdoses.
Conclusions Timely opioid overdose surveillance in Michigan can have broad implications for both public health and public safety, allowing for focused interventions and resource allocation in communities with the highest rates of opioid overdose.
Significance and Contributions to Injury and Violence Prevention Science SOS’s multidisciplinary model can be replicated across the nation to inform data-driven opioid overdose prevention and response efforts with the ultimate goal of reducing overdose injuries and fatalities.
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