Virginia saw more than 1,200 opioid-related drug overdose deaths in 2017, its highest rate ever. But some areas were hit harder than others.
Earlier this week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced the expansion of the Commonwealth’s opioid data-sharing platform to Roanoke Valley, Virginia, to help fight the opioid crisis. This region was selected because Roanoke Valley saw opioid-related deaths quadruple between 2016 and 2017.
The platform called Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation (FAACT) launched in 2017 as part of a collaboration between the state’s Departments of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) to develop a platform that could securely collect and share opioid data across government agencies and local organizations.
DCJS contracted with data analytics company Qlarion Inc. to build the platform and first received a grant from the the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance to develop the tech in 2017.
FAACT has been fully operational and sharing opioid-use data for the Virginia region since December 2018, and was first used by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition. Executive Director Lauren Cummings said that the platform has helped the coalition gain insight to deploy resources and make key adjustments to prevent further opioid harm.
“As a Commonwealth, we must be strategic and proactive in helping individuals struggling with addiction and addressing the opioid crisis in our communities,” Gov. Northam said in a statement. “With the expansion of this platform, we will enable more of our government agencies and local organizations to share important data and improve their ability to work together to translate that information into real solutions that can save lives.”
Gov. Northam also took to Twitter to express his support for the platform’s expansion:
As a physician, I know that we can't defeat this epidemic in isolation. The expansion of this data-sharing platform will improve the way our state agencies and local partners work together and help focus their efforts on saving lives. https://t.co/Fk1ZbcvI9n
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) August 27, 2019
FAACT includes data sets from various healthcare, social services, drug courts, corrections and public safety agencies. The platform also includes a self-service analytics capabilities so participating organizations can create reports and dashboards and see opioid incident maps to detect which communities are affected by this epidemic the most.
To expand to Roanoke Valley, Qlarion will be working closely with the Roanoke Valley Collective Response, an initiative that was launched to foster collaborations between organizations working to combat the opioid crisis.
“The data provided by this platform will help us get to evidence-based solutions faster, with greater assurance that services are tailored to our community culture and needs,” said Kimberly Horn, co-chair of the Roanoke Valley Collective Response, in a statement.
To continue the expansion of this initiative beyond Roanoke Valley, DCJS and DBHDS received part of a federal State Opioid Response (SOR) grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Virginia was awarded an SOR grant of approximately $8.7 million earlier this year, of which $1.68 million is being allotted to FAACT’s expansion.-30-