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This year, Code4PA wants to take on the opioid crisis

The state-backed hackathon involving Code for Philly and other tech groups is looking for novel solutions to “something that has impacted so many of our families.”

Dominick Murray, secretary of Maryland's Department of Business and Economic Development, was present. Photo credit: Wendy Hickok.

Code for Philly is working with a coalition of organizations and state government entities to create life-saving tech.

This fall, the second iteration of a hackathon called Code4PA will take on the opioid crisis. For the monthlong event, citizens, academics and other stakeholders in the fight against opioid addiction will work with state and federal datasets to develop apps, prototypes and other ideas focused on prevention, rescue and treatment.

“The opioid crisis affects Pennsylvanians from all walks of life and all parts of our state,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “Through the command center, opioid dashboard and partnerships like Code4PA, my administration is taking an equally broad approach to identifying solutions to save lives.”

Aside from the local Code for America Brigade, which returned this year to help organize the hackathon, the list of organizations involved include the Pennsylvania Office of Administration, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Technology Council for Central PA and the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center.

“Even though the City of Philadelphia and the Governor’s office are regularly releasing interesting open data, people don’t have the opportunity on the regular to do a deep dive into that data,” Code for Philly co-director Toni McIntyre said via email. “This year’s Code4PA hackathon is a great way to dedicate time to exploring local and state data related to something that has impacted so many of our families personally. We’re hoping that after getting to explore this data, volunteers will come up with new insights, visualizations or tools that can help communities and individuals impacted by opioid use disorder.”

Last year, the hackathon’s winning project was KnowPA, a website that uses public data sets on traffic accidents and weather forecasts to produce seven-day predictions of fatality risks on the state’s roads.

“By working with state agencies and industry experts, we hope that the participants can find innovative solutions to this epidemic,” said Eric Darr, president of Harrisburg U.

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For those looking to participate, serve as mentors or volunteer, registrations are now open.

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