The Saline County Health Department for this first time is making local opioid information available via a new opioid dashboard.
According to the agency, while the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the headlines, an epidemic that has long remained in the shadows continued to rage on.
In 2020, fatal drug overdoses across the U.S. climbed to a record 92,000 deaths. Of these overdoses, 75 percent were due to opioid use, and 82 percent of opioid overdoses involved synthetic opioids. In Kansas, the number of drug overdose deaths rose from 403 in 2019 to 490 in 2020, which is a 22 percent increase. Kansas is one of five states to experience an increase of over 20 percent, and the increase will be even larger for 2021 with the first six months (Jan-Jun 2021) showing 343 estimated deaths.
With the infrastructure to battle COVID in place, the time has come to re-focus on the opioid epidemic, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Thanks to an Opioid Data to Action (OD2A) grant, the Saline County Health Department has released the Opioid Dashboard.
“This website is really a culmination of the work that was happening with OD2A in conjunction with Central Kansas Foundation,” explained Jason Tiller, Saline County Health Department director and health officer. “We aim to bring awareness to the often-ignored opioid epidemic, show the public what we are doing locally to combat it and empower them to join in the fight.”
The opioid dashboard is a website with up-to-date statics on opioid use and abuse in Saline County, information about contributing factors, education on how to identify opioid abuse and overdose, what to do to prevent it, and what resources are available and how to access them.