COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – After years of study, Ohioans can now find detailed, county-specific data about overdose deaths, hospital visits and other opioid use metrics on the state of Ohio’s website.
Ohio launched the Integrated Behavioral Health Dashboard, a compilation of dashboards on opioid overdoses and deaths, community health demographics, opioid use disorder medication prescriptions and other data to monitor substance use-related illnesses and death, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday. Its implementation comes after years of study on best reporting practices and the development of a pilot dashboard program in 18 Ohio counties.
Since 2019, the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has led the state’s contribution to a National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded study to address substance use disorder at the local level. Called the HEALing Communities Study, the research was conducted in 67 communities in Kentucky, New York, Massachusetts and Ohio with the goal of reducing opioid-related overdose deaths by 40% over the course of three years.
From that research, the state developed a statewide dashboard reporting on 55 opioid-related measures that include emergency department visits, naloxone units distributed through the state health department’s program and the number of people enrolled in opioid use disorder treatment. It can separate opioid use deaths into smaller, more specific categories including by class of drug (whether it was a benzodiazepine, cocaine, heroin or other substance) and whether an overdose patient was linked to medication opioid use disorder treatment after discharge.
“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,” DeWine said in a press release.
As part of the federally funded study, Ohio State, the University of Cincinnati, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio University, the University of Toledo and Wright State University partnered with RecoveryOhio to research how data can inform community-based opioid use treatment and care in 18 counties, split into two waves.
Counties in the first wave of the study include:
Counties in the second wave include:
“In order to create transformative change, you have to start with little steps,” said Timothy Huerta, associate dean for research information technology at the Wexner Medical Center 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.”
Bridget Freisthler, dean of research at Ohio State’s College of Social Work, is leading the Ohio HEALing Communities Study.
“As they saw how communities were using these dashboards and how useful they were, they decided to figure out a way that we could do it across all 88 counties,” she said. “While those state agencies might have dashboards of their own, they were never collated in one dashboard that could show a comprehensive look at opioid misuse and overdoses across the state of Ohio.”
The Ohio Department of Health said 5,017 people died from unintentional overdoses in 2020, a 25% increase over the previous year.
For central Ohio treatment center Maryhaven, the dashboard will help it continue its purpose.
“Providers like us use overdose data to really plan our harm reduction strategies in the community, so that’s to get information about the community, about when there’s dangerous drugs or more dangerous drugs, and also helps us to know where to distribute Narcan and when,” Adam Rowan, COO of Maryhaven, said. “The more information we have, the better we can be prepared and better we can respond.”
The state plans to expand the databases to include data on all substance use disorders, according to the release.
RecoveryOhio will host three virtual training sessions on how to use the Integrated Behavioral Health Dashboard:
- March 17 at 10 a.m.
- March 28 at noon
- April 7 at 10 a.m.
You can find more information on those trainings, including how to register, here.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder or needs help, there are resources available. If you’re experiencing a mental health emergency, call the 24/7 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8 or reach the 24/7 Crisis Text Helpline by texting 4HOPE to 741741.
- 24/7 Ohio CareLine: 800-720-9616
- OhioMHAS Consumer and Family Toll-Free Bridge: 877-275-6364
- Find naloxone kits and training at Project DAWN programs in your county