Data Collection And Sharing Are Newest Tools To Fight Opioid Abuse

Aug 26, 2019

A data sharing platform aimed at fighting opioid abuse and addiction is being expanded into southwest Virginia.

The platform, known as FAACT (Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation), collects street-level data on crime, overdoses and emerging drug trends.  Law enforcement, health providers and community service agencies can access the data and use it to focus their resources.

Lauren Cummings helped design the pilot program in the Shenandoah Valley and has seen it be successful. When community agencies there noticed a spike in overdoses during a one-week span this summer, they quickly jumped into action.  "The outreach nearly halted the deadly trend we were experiencing," Cummings told the audience at Monday's announcement.  "And without having updated data at our fingertips, we wouldn’t have been able to have this type of an impact." 

Gov. Ralph Northam announces the new program in Roanoke County Monday.
Credit David Seidel/Radio IQ

Governor Ralph Northam says the information sharing will help community agencies focus their efforts. "We need to collect data," Northam said. "We need to be able to follow where our challenges are, what angles we need to attack this problem from and how we can better manage this process as we move forward." 

The Roanoke Valley-based program will cover a 26 county area around the Roanoke Valley including Lexington, Lynchburg, Danville and the New River Valley.  It should be up and running in 12 to 18 months and is funded through a federal grant.