HomeColumbiaSouth Carolina's new weapon against overdoses: Introducing the overdose Biosurveillance dashboard

South Carolina’s new weapon against overdoses: Introducing the overdose Biosurveillance dashboard

Columbia, South Carolina – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has introduced a new Overdose Biosurveillance Dashboard. This tool aims to provide detailed data on non-fatal opioid overdoses and other related drug overdose indicators at both state and county levels. In recent years, South Carolina has experienced a noticeable rise in deaths due to overdoses, particularly those involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

This innovative dashboard offers insights into non-fatal overdose data for various drugs, including fentanyl, cocaine, xylazine, and methamphetamine. It gathers and analyzes anonymous samples from about 30 hospitals throughout the state.

“We wanted to make this data more publicly accessible because we think it will help a lot of treatment providers and local communities who are trying to respond to the drug crisis we have in our state,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC director. “The Overdose Biosurveillance Dashboard has near real-time surveillance along with data analytics to show trends with drug use and trends with drug overdoses in our state, and we think this will benefit those who are planning treatment to save lives and improve health outcomes.”

Back in 2019, the South Carolina Public Health Laboratory was awarded a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to start the Overdose Biosurveillance Program (OBP). This program initially focused on testing for fentanyl and its analogs in suspected non-fatal drug overdoses. The funding was later expanded to include testing for other illegal substances like xylazine, stimulants, and benzodiazepines.

Read also: Florence Center to host R&B and Soul Mayhem concert on May 25

Since its inception, the Public Health Lab at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has analyzed over 16,400 residual urine specimens collected from suspected non-fatal drug overdoses. The information gleaned from these analyses is crucial in spotting trends in drug consumption and enhancing prevention strategies. This data is routinely distributed among hospitals, epidemiologists, policymakers, and other public health experts to combat opioid and drug misuse across South Carolina communities. With the introduction of the public-facing dashboard, the reach of this data is set to expand, further supporting initiatives to tackle the opioid crisis.

“The purpose of this dashboard is to not only understand the prevalence of substance misuse and incidence of overdoses in South Carolina, but also get better, faster, actionable insights for decision-making at all levels of public health,” said Katie O’Shields, Director of DHEC’s Division of Epidemiology, Analysis & Data Visualization. “Public health practitioners, researchers and policy makers can utilize this data to learn more about the overdose epidemic, develop new programs, evaluate existing programs or responses, influence policy, drive decision-making and apply for grants.”

Given the rapidly evolving drug landscape across the state and nationally, DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory has the capacity to increase its drug screening panel as new drugs emerge in South Carolina.

Read also: ColaEats program to fight food insecurity for Midlands students in absence of USDA’s 2024 Summer EBT program

Visit the DHEC website to view the Overdose Biosurveillance Dashboard. For assistance navigating and utilizing the dashboard, visit the Navigating the Overdose Biosurveillance Dashboard webpage.

For more information on DHEC’s efforts to combat opioid overdose deaths, visit scdhec.gov/opioid-epidemic. For additional information and resources related to opioids, visit the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services website or justplainkillers.com.

Latest

Biden’s inappropriate comments in Georgia could push Black voters even further away from him

With less than six months until the November general...

Stark warning for Biden: Florida Congressman impeachment threat gains momentum

As all eyes are on Trump’s hush-money trial in...

California Gov. Newsom issues dire alert on ‘corrupted’ Trump’s plan that could ruin America

The American public continues to hunger for official information...

Newsletter

From the web

Biden’s inappropriate comments in Georgia could push Black voters even further away from him

With less than six months until the November general election, the presidential race seems to be so tied that surveys show each candidate currently...

Stark warning for Biden: Florida Congressman impeachment threat gains momentum

As all eyes are on Trump’s hush-money trial in New York, things could soon take a sudden turn after a Florida Congressman is reportedly...

California Gov. Newsom issues dire alert on ‘corrupted’ Trump’s plan that could ruin America

The American public continues to hunger for official information and details about a recent Florida meeting between former president Donald Trump and top oil...