Pharmacy school creates website to track overdose deaths

March 20, 2015

The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy School has developed a website that will track drug overdoses in some Pennsylvania counties.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy School has developed a website that will track drug overdoses in some Pennsylvania counties.

West Virginia panel targets doctors, pharmacies linked to overdoses

The website, OverdoseFreePa.Pitt.edu, currently receives overdose data from medical examiners’ offices in 13 Pennsylvania counties. It provides statistic information such as gender, age, location, race, and type of drug involved in the death.

“There was a need for this information,” said Sherry Aasen, project manager for the website, told Triblive.com. “Ideally, we'd like to have this created for the entire state. It's a growing process.”

The co-chairman of the Westmoreland County's Drug Overdose Prevention Task Force, Dirk Matson, said the website would help healthcare officials and addiction specialists identity and react to trends.

“One real example is that last year in Allegheny County, the number of deaths went up in the younger age categories,” Dirkson told Triblive.com. “Allegheny County could be a predictor for us, as we're a year behind some of their trends. It gives us a blueprint to work ahead.”

 

The website also provides information about overdose prevention and links to drug treatment programs. “Overdose is a national epidemic, resulting in thousands of deaths per year in the United States. The problem of overdose is perceived to exist in urban settings, however, the overdose epidemic has spread throughout suburban and rural communities at alarming rates,” a statement on the website reads. “The problem is especially severe in Pennsylvania, due to increasing misuse of prescription pain medications. In some counties, drug overdose deaths outnumber all other types of accidental deaths combined, including motor vehicle deaths.”

The statement continues: “The overall goal of this project is to increase community awareness and knowledge of overdose and overdose prevention strategies as well as to support initiatives aimed at decreasing drug overdoses and deaths within the participating counties.”

See also:

Opioid overdose deaths soaring in NYC