Opiate Overdoses

As fentanyl, heroin and other opioid overdoses grow in terms of public awareness, Montgomery County is establishing a response plan to combat the problem. Dan Foley, Montgomery County commissioner, is heading up a Collective Impact Collaborative, calling the rise in overdoses “a public health epidemic”, according to the Dayton Daily News. Over 150 representatives from public health, law enforcement, legal and judiciary and addiction support sectors met in early October to plan a strategy.

“This epidemic is a public health and a public safety crisis and as such it requires a unified community response,” Jeff Cooper, Montgomery County health commissioner, told the Daily News. This response will include forming a steering committee and joint information centre to coordinate messaging, as well as an operations section for financial and logistical matters. “Cooper said the effort will be scaled to the opioid problem employing an incident management system much like efforts to combat other diseases or outbreaks of food-borne illness,” reported the Daily News.

Another tool will be data analysis and sequential intercept mapping to identify people needing treatment at different points during interaction with communities or law enforcement, said the Daily News.

According to drugwarfacts.com, out of the 47,000 drug overdose deaths in 2013 in the United States, over 29,000 were either prescription opioids or heroin (comparatively, 2013 had 32,000 traffic deaths).