Home  |   Subscribe  |   Resources  |   Reprints  |   Writers' Guidelines

Better Use of Data Can Help Fight US Opioid Epidemic, Report Shows

The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic that has cost nearly 400,000 lives since 1999 and shows little signs of slowing down. To help combat this epidemic, a new report from the Center for Data Innovation proposes opportunities to better leverage data to help address problems related to the abuse of prescription opioids. The report calls on policymakers to aggressively pursue more data-driven strategies to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic while learning from past mistakes to prevent similar crises in the future.

“The failure to effectively leverage data has cost lives and caused severe social and economic damage to communities ravaged by opioid addiction,” says Daniel Castro, director of the Center for Data Innovation. “The opioid epidemic is complex, widespread, and incredibly dangerous, and data can be an important tool for policymakers and public health officials to fight it.”

As the report shows, data can help fight the opioid epidemic in the United States in four key areas: ensuring health care providers properly prescribe opioids, identifying risk factors for prescription opioid abuse, scrutinizing the prescription opioid supply chain, and improving the effectiveness of intervention.

The report offers 17 policy recommendations for improving the use of data in the four areas identified. Its recommendations include the following:

“Better use of data would allow officials at every stage of the health care supply chain to make more informed and effective decisions about how to combat the opioid epidemic,” Castro adds. “If stakeholders are able to successfully leverage data, it will save lives and help ensure the United States is better prepared to address future drug-related public health crises.”

— Source: Center for Data Innovation