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NJ Department of Health unveils new overdose mortality dashboard

Resource Allows Users to Explore Disparities by County

NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is further targeting resources to communities that need them most with the release of a new Overdose Mortality Data Explorer, which allows the public to explore demographic disparities in fatal overdose by county.

The new Overdose Mortality Data Explorer is funded as part of a five-year grant awarded to New Jersey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) program for $4.5 million annually.

The grant represents a transformative opportunity to strengthen ongoing efforts in combatting the overdose crisis and reducing overdose-related harms.

“This new resource launched by the Department of Health will play a critical role in our efforts to end the opioid epidemic in New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “To effectively combat this crisis, we must be informed about the devastating impacts of overdose-related harms across the state. This resource will better help us determine how to target critical support through prevention, treatment, and recovery services and programs.”

The Data Explorer dashboard displays drug overdose data from the New Jersey’s State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System (SUDORS). SUDORS provides comprehensive data on unintentional drug overdose deaths collected from death certificates and medical examiner reports with detailed toxicology findings. This new resource allows users to explore demographic disparities by county, continuing our efforts to bring data into the hands of community stakeholders who can take action to prevent and respond to overdoses. The data accounts for all overdose deaths from 2012 through 2022 at this time.

“Any life lost to overdose is too many. More than 3,000 New Jerseyans were lost to overdose in 2022, and more than 109,000 nationwide. That’s over seven New Jersey residents dying every day,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Kaitlan Baston. “We continue to see the devastating impact of overdose ravaging communities in every corner of our state.  And we are committed to identifying and implementing solutions to end the overdose crisis.

Compared to the dramatic and tragic increases the state saw in overdose deaths from 2014 through 2018, and despite the challenges of fentanyl, New Jersey is starting to see a flattening of the curve. However, the state is also seeing rising racial disparities and a disproportionate burden in rural counties, alongside the plateauing rates/numbers overall.

The CDC’s OD2A program plays a vital role in advancing the nation’s response to the opioid epidemic. OD2A supports funded jurisdictions to implement prevention activities and to collect accurate, comprehensive, and timely data on nonfatal and fatal overdoses. This data is used to enhance programs and surveillance efforts.

With this grant, New Jersey will be able to respond more quickly, effectively, and equitably to residents’ needs, using data to drive action to reduce overdose deaths and related harms.

This funding will enable:

  • Collecting, analyzing, and disseminating high-quality overdose morbidity and mortality data, including greater identification of health disparities in fatal and nonfatal overdoses
  • Continuing successful DOH programs, such as our Overdose Fatality Review Teams
  • Supporting innovative and evidence-informed programs including academic detailing for health systems, Emergency Department Peer Navigator programs, and community-EMS overdose co-response teams
  • Supporting an array of harm reduction tools and resources, including mail-based naloxone, distribution of fentanyl test strips, outreach and education in overdose hotspots, and harm reduction peer navigation and outreach services.

Using data to drive action is part of a whole of government approach to the opioid epidemic. This work complements and informs the Murphy Administration’s historic investments in evidence-based solutions like medications for opioid use disorder and harm reduction.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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