May 15, 2017

ISDH Launches County Profiles To Fight Opioid Epidemic

Article origination IPBS-RJC


A new tool from the Indiana State Department of Health aims to help counties determine how best to respond to the opioid epidemic. Those profiles, released Monday, offer a view of how the opioid epidemic is impacting Indiana communities, county by county.

ISDH deputy commissioner Pam Pontones says the information is not meant to rank counties or serve as a comparison but rather to give counties a snapshot of their risks and trends.

“So they are not just shooting in the dark to figure out what might work, they have a better indication of what would work,” Pontones says.

That way, Pontones says, counties can better allocate resources.

The data looks at factors including non-fatal emergency room visits and the rise in Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS cases.  Marion County Health Department director Virginia Caine says they can use the report to monitor how successful programs are.

“If we’re really successful with the distribution of naloxone we can save a significant number of lives related to this,” Caine says.

The profiles include data from 2011-2015, a time frame when opioid-related deaths increased an average of 3.5 times each year.

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