Dept. of Health launches dashboard to track overdose death data

DOH aims to help communities better understand overdose deaths, make informed prevention decisions

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has introduced a new “Unintentional Drug Overdose Data dashboard” that the agency says will provide valuable insights for addressing substance use disorders in the state.

The DOH claims the data provided by the dashboard will be used to better understand characteristics and circumstances surrounding each overdose death, including the type of drugs involved and whether they were illicitly manufactured or prescribed.

Relevant drug overdose death data is collected through the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System, known as “SUDORS.” According to the DOH, SUDORS links information from coroner and medical examiner reports, toxicology, autopsy, and, when possible, prescription drug monitoring program data.

Data on the dashboard will be refreshed twice a year in the Spring and Fall.

Thirteen Washington counties currently participate in the program, representing about 88% of statewide overdose deaths. The DOH says plans are underway to add more counties, with the goal of including the entire state.

“Our new Unintentional Drug Overdose Data dashboard is an innovative tool that empowers our communities with data to understand, address, and combat the public health crisis caused by substance use disorders in Washington state,” said DOH’s Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH, and chief science officer. “To stem the tide of deaths from opioid overdose, we need to raise awareness, increase access to treatment, and get naloxone to people who use drugs.”

Related data are also available on DOH’s Opioid and Drug Overdose Data dashboard, which shows all overdose deaths, hospitalizations, and EMS responses sortable by residence, age, sex, and race/ethnicity for every county in Washington.

The new Unintentional Drug Overdose Data dashboard displays additional demographic, drug category, and circumstance details on unintentional and undetermined overdose deaths, but does not cover all counties in the state.