Cincinnati officials use unique online portal to track heroin overdoses

Posted at 5:10 AM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 06:34:09-04

CINCINNATI -- As the heroin epidemic continues, City of Cincinnati departments and agencies have a tool giving them access to how the drug is impacting the city every day.

Officials began analyzing emergency medical services data as part of an effort to identify trends and hotspots after a spike in overdoses last summer.

"I was at a conference, I started getting all these texts from people like, 'Oh my gosh, we're having this huge spike. Do [I] know anything about this?'" Cincinnati Chief Performance Officer Leigh Tami said.

RELATED: Office of Performance and Data Analytics saved us $3.3 million in 2016

The surge of overdoses was caused by carfentanil hitting the area. The city's Office of Performance and Data Analytics came up with an in-depth analysis of overdoses rolling through Cincinnati. They call it the Heroin Tracker.

"It's a matter of making sure that this data are in the right hands at the right times, so that we can sort of react and respond in a way that's really proactive and helpful," Tami said.

The tracker shows where heroin overdoses happen, and it's broken by by neighborhood, month day and even hour. The data from police and fire calls are updated every 24 hours.

They also track whether or not first responders administered opioid blocker Narcan to the person who overdosed.

"Understanding that, that's an important," Tami said.

The one-of-a-kind interactive dashboard was designed at a cost of about $55,000. The information is publicly available online. Click here to see it.

The tracker has received some national attention.

"I think it's really about building a community of how we can address this epidemic," Cincinnati Chief Data Officer Brandon Crowley said. "Because it's not just Cincinnati, it's not just affecting Ohio. It's affecting the country."