In 2009, for the first time, national vital statistics data showed that drug overdose deaths exceeded motor vehicle deaths. Improving epidemiologic data and prevention strategies for the national epidemic of drug overdose deaths are high priorities, particularly for opioid-related deaths. Death certificate-based vital statistics data are useful for describing the burden of drug overdose deaths but have limited data on the drugs involved. The Overdose Subcommittee was formed to raise the visibility of drug overdose deaths among CSTE members and to improve surveillance for fatal drug overdoses at the state and local levels.The subcommittee is working on a project to analyze death certificate, toxicology, and medical examiner data to compare the drug overdose classification. The subcommittee is also collaborating with the injury subcommittee to coordinate activities to implement the recommendations put forth by the Safe States Alliance’s Consensus Recommendations for National and State Poisoning Surveillance (ISW7).
Recently, the Overdose Subcommittee announced the development of tool that analyze the text on death certificates by identifying specific drugs mentioned on the death certificates. These tool consist of a SAS program designed to review the text data on the death certificate, an excel spreadsheet with common search terms found on the death certificates, and a text document explaining the tool. These tool can help state analysts to improve drug overdose surveillance activities.
Click here to download the tool
The downloadable zip file includes an Excel document, an SAS document, and a PDF document.
The subcommittee meets monthly via conference calls. For more information about the Overdose Subcommittee and its activities, please contact Nidal Kram. Click here to view other Cross Cutting Steering Committee activities.
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