MultCo unveils Overdose Dashboard as new tool in fentanyl crisis

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Fentanyl overdoses have not yet slowed in Multnomah County during the 90-day emergency declared in the City of Portland, Multnomah County and the state of Oregon.

That’s information taken from a new data dashboard that uses recent data to track how the fentanyl crisis is affecting our community. The Multnomah County Overdose Dashboard, launched Tuesday, will get new, weekly updates – a major improvement over waiting months for the CDC or Oregon Health Authority overdose data.

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The dashboard shows the number of fatal overdoses and breaks that down into fentanyl and non-fentanyl related ODs. It also shows calls for service, hospital visits related to opioids, ambulance responses and where all of it is taking place.

Fatal ODs not slowing down

Fentanyl deaths keep rising every year in Multnomah County, a “concerning” trend, said Dr. Emily Mosites, the epidemiology manager for the county.

The Unified Command for the fentanyl emergency has tried to track hot spots of activity. This new dashboard shows various aspects of data from the opioid crisis and its maps provide insight.

For example, the 3 downtown Portland ZIP codes see the most fentanyl ODs, led by Old Town and Northwest Portland. East Gresham and Portland are also in the more-active areas.

“If a service organization is working in a particular ZIP code, they’re able to see the exact numbers of what’s going on in their area,” Dr. Mosites said.

Hospital data shows a similar pattern, though more people are visiting East County hospitals needing overdose-related care.

Fatal overdoses are not slowing down in Multnomah County.

More opioid-releated ODs were reported in January than any other month. Fentanyl-related overdose deaths spiked in the summer months, which is a trend public health officials will dive into.

“There’s a bit of a seasonal trend in the summer months,” Dr. Mosites said. “We see higher numbers of calls and we see higher numbers of some of the fatal fentanyl overdoses.”

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But how will this data inform policy recommendations?

A spokesperson for the Unified Command told KOIN 6 News in a statement the team “utilizes health data to assess the success of initiatives and programming, while understanding no one performance metric tells the whole story or is connected to success independently.”

They also use visual improvements, public sentiment and personal stories to see how outreach, law enforcement and other coordinated efforts that are part of the emergency have impacted the crisis so far.

Multnomah County officials said they were already working on this dashboard before the emergency was declared, which they said allowed it to be activated quickly.

The goal is to create a similar data network, showing where shelter, detox or treatment beds are available so outeach workers and law enforcement know where they can bring someone.

But there’s no timeline yet for that.

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