University of Kentucky to monitor opioid overdoses in real time with new surveillance system

Researchers at the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, based at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, have received grant monies to implement a real-time state opioid overdose surveillance system.

The Enhanced State Surveillance of Opioid Morbidity and Mortality surveillance system aims to expedite the collection and dissemination of drug overdose data to key stakeholders, such as healthcare workers and law enforcement officials, according to a news release from the university. University officials did not go into specifics about the grant amount.

The ESSOMM project will collect geographically specific data on non-fatal and fatal opioid overdoses, involved drugs, overdose patterns and community risk factors, according to a news release.

"The ESSOMM system will provide a more complete and up-to-the-minute picture of the opioid epidemic and problematic areas in Kentucky," Michael Singleton, an assistant professor of biostatistics in the UK College of Public Health, who serves as principal investigator on the grant and will oversee implementation of the surveillance system, said in a statement. "Keeping in step with the trends can lead to life-saving opportunities from a public health and public safety standpoint."

In the end, the system will turn surveillance data from various sources into actionable information, according to a news release. University of Kentucky representatives said a syndromic surveillance system will gather information on emergency department opioid overdose cases on a near-real-time basis, and analyze the data stream for  abnormal changes in the number of cases or types of drugs occurring in a specific area.


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