The Baltimore City Health Department on Monday launched an online public dashboard to track and report data on opioid overdoses in Baltimore, as well as resources for those experiencing addiction.
The dashboard includes data from 1999 through 2020, the last year for which finalized data is available.
It will pull information from several sources, including the Maryland Department of Health Vital Statistics, Open Data Maryland, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition to information on data trends, the dashboard aims to educate members of the public about the science of addiction and provide access to resources, including naloxone training and treatment resources.
Mary Beth Haller, the city’s interim health commissioner, expressed confidence in the dashboard’s ability to help city residents.
“The goal of the dashboard is to ensure that Baltimore City residents are informed regarding trends in opioid overdoses and deaths,” Haller said. “This dashboard is another tool we can use to strengthen ongoing collaborative work among public health partners in Baltimore to combat the opioid overdose epidemic.”
According to the Baltimore Sun, fatal drug overdoses dropped in the first half of 2022, including in Baltimore City and surrounding counties. In that time however, more than 1,200 people died “with opioids in their bodies.”
The Sun wrote in November 2022 that officials spoke about the challenges of reducing overdoses, including the prohibitive cost of the overdose reversal drug naloxone, difficulty adding opioid treatment providers amid an already fatigued health care workforce, and ongoing stigmas around addiction treatment.
The city health department hopes the new public dashboard can be a tool to educate and alleviate some of those problems. The website shares messages such as “addiction is a medical condition,” “the overdose crisis in Baltimore impacts entire communities,” and “help is available.”
The dashboard includes videos explaining substance use disorder and how addiction affects the brain, along with sections explaining demographics, the substances involved, and hospitalization trends. It also contains a section of resources that explains what to do if you suspect someone has overdosed, and a list of treatment programs to help people get well.