White House launches data dashboard for non-fatal opioid overdoses

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The White House launched a new national dashboard on Thursday to track non-fatal opioid overdoses in the U.S. to aid in combating the ongoing epidemic.

The Nonfatal Opioid Overdose Dashboard tracks rates across states and territories using information from the National EMS Information System.

Collected from electronic patient care records, the dashboard categorizes jurisdictions as having a nonfatal overdose rate that is zero or much lower than average, much higher than average or some degree in between these metrics.

As the White House noted in its announcement, nonfatal overdoses are a leading predictor for future fatal ones.

The dashboard, made in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also tracks the current percentage of patients not transported to a medical facility, the number of naloxone administration per overdose as well as the average time it takes EMS to reach a patient.

“Before today, the best available data at our disposal was the number of Americans dying from an overdose, which was too late to help save a life,” Rahul Gupta, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said.

“With this new dashboard, we can now provide first responders, clinicians, and policymakers with real-time, actionable information that will improve our response and save lives. President Biden’s Strategy makes clear that we must be guided by science to beat the overdose epidemic and this new data tracking system will help us do that.”

The Biden administration released its National Drug Control Strategy earlier this year. As part of the White House’s strategy, Gupta called for the better utilization of data to guide drug policy, stating that it should be “centered on individuals and communities.”

The White House said the dashboard launched on Thursday is only the “first iteration” of the resource, adding that it is expected to expand in the future to include more data like overdoses of other drugs, patient outcomes and the impact on major demographics.

Officials said the data from this dashboard could help identify areas most at risk of overdoses and allow for resources to be directed accordingly.

The Biden administration has pushed for harm reduction methods to be implemented as part of its drug control strategy, including encouraging naloxone makers to speak with federal regulator to make the overdose treatment available over-the-counter.

On Tuesday, Emergent BioSolutions, the makers of the brand name version of naloxone marketed as Narcan, said the Food and Drug Administration had granted priority review to its application to make the nasal spray version of its drug available over-the-counter.

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