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Link Data Sets to Identify Trends and Focus Resources

Increase the Use of Linked Data Sets to Improve Knowledge of Trends, Respond Rapidly to Emerging Drug Trends, and Focus Resources on High-Risk Populations.

Efforts to address illicit substance use and misuse may be hampered by gaps in information exchanges that prevent timely access to data that can help stakeholders make informed decisions. In many communities, public health, behavioral health, and public safety agencies are working together to appropriately link and integrate data sets that improve overdose tracking and early detection, inform interventions, and focus resources and treatment where they are needed most. Data dashboards are a tool for combining and analyzing information from multiple sources and sharing it with a wide range of stakeholders. Dashboards make information on drug-related issues accessible (e.g., overdose deaths, emergency response calls, prescription rates) and allow users to create customized reports, tables, or maps.

Early communication of real-time drug toxicity and accurate understanding of death rates and the drugs involved in overdose deaths are essential components of planning cross-sector interventions. Strategic responses that include crime labs, coroners, and medical examiners can help improve the consistency of death investigation practices, toxicological analysis and interpretation of findings, and death certification reporting. Further, multiagency, multidisciplinary overdose fatality review teams share information on overdose deaths from all sectors and critically examine the information for trends, system gaps, and opportunities for collaboration. The case-specific, in-depth review provides context to the population-level information included in data dashboards.

COSSUP supports activities that:

  • Implement or expand data integration across agencies/systems to better identify target population needs and resource gaps, as well as improve program planning and decision making.
  • Implement or expand data dashboards, an information management tool that visually tracks, analyzes, and displays key data and metrics.

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  • Implement or expand overdose fatality review teams, multidisciplinary teams that meet regularly to conduct confidential reviews of fatal overdose cases to inform local overdose prevention planning.
  • Implement or enhance opioid responses that include crime labs, medical examiners, and coroners to improve the timeliness and quality of drug mortality data that can help support public health responses.


Grantee Projects

Tennessee Department of Health


The Tennessee Department of Health will create an overdose epidemic response coordinator position; integrate data on overdoses that occur and are treated in the field, including data from emergency medical services and law enforcement; and increase the ability to expand analytic work such as studying the roles of new drugs of concern including gabapentin, stimulants, and illicit drugs.
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Vermont State Agency of Human Services


The State of Vermont Department of Health Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs will identify community-level data sets pertaining to opioid use/misuse and associated physical, mental, environmental, and social health consequences and develop a data platform for community groups to access and manipulate data to identify pertinent local areas of concern. Vermont is recruiting a research partner for the proposed project.
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West Allis Health Department


The West Allis Health Department will implement the Cardiff Model, an enhanced violence surveillance system and intervention that involves information sharing and violence prevention among law enforcement, public health, and the medical field. The model requires (1) the collection, linking, and mapping of interpersonal violence information from emergency departments, police departments, and other relevant areas (e.g., emergency medical services [EMS]); and (2) the convening of a multidisciplinary stakeholder consortium to discuss and utilize timely information to implement data-informed violence-prevention activities. The Cardiff Model has not been evaluated regarding its impact in the United States and requires evaluation in the proposed health-care, population, and environmental contexts. Further, by incorporating and discussing opioid-related data sets (e.g., the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program [ODMAP], the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program [PDMP]) alongside violence data sets, this model may have utility for addressing the intersection of violence and opioid misuse. The Medical College of Wisconsin and its Comprehensive Injury Center will serve as the research partner for the proposed project.
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