Today, health officials are getting a clearer look at the patterns associated with opioid use through at a ground-breaking statewide assessment.
Heralded for its ability to identify and even predict opioid trends, the tool is expected to provide government agencies, lawmakers and local community leaders with information needed to tailor laws, target resources, and design innovative programs to best address the opioid epidemic in Michigan.
The assessment was completed by the Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and Appriss Health as part of Michigan’s strategy to prevent opioid abuse.
LARA is one of the first state government agencies in the country to conduct this comprehensive assessment to better inform its statewide battle with the opioid epidemic, according to a state spokesperson.
“Michigan is at the forefront of using data and technology to identify prevent and manage substance use disorders across the state,” said Lt. Governor Brian Calley. “This assessment provides a holistic image of the opioid epidemic in Michigan.”
More than 5,261 people died from unintentional opioid overdoses over the last five years, according to the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS).
With 103.2 million legal prescriptions issued since 2013, the opioid epidemic has touched millions of households.
“The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis that has affected every community in Michigan,” said LARA Director Shelly Edgerton. “Collaborating with our technology partners at Appriss Health has helped us aggregate individual and community-level challenges of the opioid epidemic to anticipate current and future statewide trends.”
So far, the tool has identified that men aged 26 to 35 and 46 to 55 years of age represent the largest number of drug-related overdoes.
For women, the age range most impacted is for those aged 46 to 55.
New mapping tools will provide deep insight about the underlying patterns of use, which may help prevent unnecessary deaths. and improve treatment and resource deployment.
With the tool, officials can pinpoint who is using and respective patterns of use, as well as tracking the(ir) dispensers by zip code (prescribers, take note).
The assessment utilizes Appriss Health’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies.
By delivering automated data that maps patterns, identifies “red flags” and issues alerts, officials will be able to address emerging issues as they occur.
“This assessment, along with other data science collaborations underway, demonstrate the aggressive commitment of our partners in Michigan to impact the opioid crisis,” said Rob Cohen, president of Appriss Health. “Together, Appriss Health and Michigan share a common strategy in the fight against the scourge of the opioid epidemic.”