Pa. research zooms in on overdose problem across state

Better data on these types of deaths would help officials understand the patterns of usage within the state

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WYTV) – Opioid overdose deaths continue to plague not only Ohio but Pennsylvania, which is why officials there are looking to lead the way in tackling the issue.

The University of Pittsburgh has teamed up with health care officials and police to create an overdose-free Pennsylvania. A new data collection program is aimed at collecting information about the state’s overdose cases to create a clear picture of circumstances surrounding them, which in turn, could lead to new ways to combat the problem.

Last year, 4,600 Pennsylvanians died of drug overdoses.

Better data on these deaths would help officials understand the patterns of usage within the state. Doctors say every overdose case is different and tracking those differing factors is important.

“It’s represented by age, gender, ethnicity and location,” said Dr. Janice Pringle, University of Pittsburgh.

Up until the research program began, every coroner’s office reported data in its own way. Now, the reporting is standardized to make it easier to collect data from across the state, tracking problem areas and demographic information.

Pringle said they are already seeing positive results from the program.

“We do have a couple of counties in Pennsylvania that are stabilizing with their overdose rate,” Pringle said.

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