SAN ANTONIO – Local organizations that work with vulnerable and drug addicted community members in Bexar County have a good understanding of the overdose problem. Soon, groups across Texas will be able to help state researchers track this problem and compile data.
Kasey Claborn, principal investigator at UT Austin, said a data collection pilot program was launched in Bexar County, El Paso and Austin last fall and will be ready to roll out across the country. state in the fall of 2022.
“The university is trying to improve overdose data so we can hopefully improve funding and access to services for people who use drugs,” Claborn explained.
Overdose information is compiled in the database called Texas Connecting Overdose Prevention, or TxCOPE.
“We’re asking anyone in the community – if you hear of an overdose, you can anonymously report this overdose incident online. And that just helps us better understand what’s going on in the community and where to allocate resources,” Claborn said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 107,000 fatal overdoses were reported last year, an upward trend. Claborn wanted to create a system that would help track overdoses before they became fatal and find out where they were happening.
“We needed a way to serve people who don’t come into contact with the health care system, and so this is a solution to that. And at the national level, no one collects the data the way we collect it, primarily for non-fatal overdoses in the community,” Claborn said.
Organizations trained in the database will ask a series of questions that will help ensure that data is not duplicated.
Claborn said this project was personal to her.
“I have seen over the past two decades how tragic this is. The overdose crisis continues to grow,” Claborn said. “Having this ability to report data, you know, to organize data, to collect that data effectively – definitely (it) makes it easier to respond quickly to people’s needs.”
The project website will launch statewide in the fall. Click here to find more information about reporting overdoses in your community.
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