The White House unveils a new system to track and better prevent opioid overdoses
December 9, 2022 | by voicesriseup
For decades, the U.S. struggled to create a national system for tracking opioid overdoses.
Critics including Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) say the lack of accurate, real-time data has made it harder for health officials to respond as black market pain pills, heroin and illicit fentanyl flooded communities.
"It is absolutely a monstrous failure of government," Trone said in an interview with NPR. "The excuses are unending."
Thursday morning, the Biden administration moved to close the data gap, unveiling a new website that will track non-fatal opioid overdoses.
The site will be updated every two weeks with reports collected at the county level by EMS first responders in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Officials say the information will help shapethe medical response when overdose clusters occur in different parts of the country.
That could include quickly distributing naloxone, a medication that reverses opioid overdoses, in communities facing a rise in overdose incidents.
"We could see tens of thousands of additional lives saved," said Dr. Rahul Gupta, head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, during a call with reporters on Wednesday.
According to Gupta, the website will "provide first responders, clinicians and policy-makers with real-time, actionable information that will improve our responses."
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