COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Health is making it easier for the public to see how many people are being treated for suspected drug overdoses.
The agency just rolled out a new online database, called EpiCenter, which tracks the primary reason for a patient’s visit in most of Ohio’s emergency departments. Public health officials have used this type of data for several years to identify spikes in drug-related emergency department visits – which could be due not only to overdoses but also to drug and alcohol withdrawal.
“Drug overdose death data is important in understanding and responding to this crisis, but there’s a lag in the data’s availability because it’s based on death certificates, which take time to complete and analyze,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “I am pleased that the Ohio Department of Health has launched a new publicly available web-based dashboard with more timely data about suspected drug overdoses treated in emergency departments.”
With the online portal, residents can track data from each of Ohio's 88 counties. The dashboard, which is updated on a monthly basis, provides four areas of information:
• statewide trends and demographics
• trends and demographics by county
• county data table
• county rate maps
“Access to timely data is critical for communities to understand the impact of suspected drug overdoses seen in emergency departments and to identify emerging overdose trends.” said ODH Director Amy Acton, MD, MPH. “This new dashboard provides an additional tool to assist communities with targeting and coordinating prevention efforts and resources.”
According to the information in the database, suspected drug overdoses are down in Cuyahoga County. In 2019, there were 4.,449 emergency room visits for suspected drug overdoses, in 2018 there were 4,512 and in 2017 there were 6,533.
To access the database, click here.