Health

Pennsylvania State Police announces opioid data program for law enforcement, public health officials

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HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania State Police, in partnership with Governor Tom Wolf’s administrative team and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, unveiled a statewide opioid overdose database on Monday, which will be used for ongoing drug trafficking investigations that cross jurisdictions as well as analysis for prevention and treatment methods.

The Pennsylvania Overdose Information Network, also known by ODIN, is a centralized program that will bring statistical and investigative data together, from overdose data, naloxone usage and “hotspots” that show areas where more overdoses or deaths are occurring in real time.

Capt. Troy Hyman, director of the intelligence division of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, said during a press conference that he believed this is a first-of-its-kind database in the country, which will provide law enforcement investigative work across jurisdictional bounds and provide resources for public health officials and lawmakers.

“This platform gives us a way for people to put information into the database (for) law enforcement, so that they can connect cases, case information, and really just coordinate their resources in doing their investigations,” Hyman said. “In other words, maybe there will be multiple investigations related to a specific case, this is a tool that will help us connect those and help us use resources better.”

There is no public access to ODIN, but the program will provide “tiered access” for users, depending on their role and what data they may need.

For instance, public health officials can see data to prioritize next steps in helping communities, said Ray Barishansky, deputy secretary for planning and assessment with the Department of Health and incident commander for the Opioid Operational Command Center.

“One of the things that we in the Command Center are looking at is it will give us a much more expansive shot on where potential resources are needed,” Barishansky said. “So if we do see a … hotspot, do we have naloxone in that area? Do we have trained providers in that area? Do we have treatment in that area? These are all policy questions that we’re going to hope to get further addressed with a system just like this, and for that we applaud the Pennsylvania State Police for this.”

More than 200 individuals have died from a drug overdose in Beaver County since 2015, according to the Beaver County Coroner’s office. Having a centralized database will hopefully become a great resource for local police departments to enter their own data, and for others to see a more complete big picture.

“It’s something we really have to take a holistic approach to, and whenever we can bring all of these entities together and get us on the same page, looking at the same picture, it really enhances our effectiveness to be able to address this epidemic,” Hyman said.

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