We use multiple data sources to inform our strategies for addressing opioid use disorder in the District.
Data from the DC Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) Forensic Chemistry Unit (FCU) focuses on real-time drug supply and use tends. The Syringe Surveillance Program analyzes residue in used syringes submitted by 4 local needle-exchange programs with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to produce results on detected substances. Please see their 2022 Annual Summary at https://dfs.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dfs/DFS FCU Annual Summary.pdf
Data from the OCME focuses on their examinations of fatal opioid overdoses in the District. It shows the trends in deaths due to opioid use. Find out more here.
Background on determining the cause and manner of death
The determination of the cause and manner of a death often entails more than an external examination or autopsy. A medical examiner may consider medical records, investigative reports, witness statements, laboratory studies, radiology images, video footage, and other information before arriving at an opinion as to the cause and manner of death. Collecting relevant information and having an opportunity to consider it can take an extended period of time. OCME also peer reviews each case on a monthly basis. The National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) has set a goal of 90% of reports of all postmortem examinations being completed within 90 calendar days from the time of the autopsy. OCME strives to meet this goal.
See DC Ward reference guide for non-fatal opioid overdoses for 2022 here. Find out more here.
The primary method of measuring outputs and short-term outcomes of DCOR initiatives is through monthly reporting. Providers (subrecipients, contractor, etc.) submit monthly, required reports that evaluate their progress, which enables DBH to discuss with provider's areas for improvement and resolving potential barriers to service delivery. The following agencies data are included in this report: Department of Health, Department of Corrections, Department of Human Services, District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. and Department of Behavioral Health.
Ward level meetings are held every other month and include government partners, SOR grantees, SUD providers, family members, other community stakeholders including ward and ANC leaders and individuals in recovery. These discussions serve as a place to review data trends around suspected non-fatal and fatal overdoses in order to plan for targeted outreach along with sharing successes, address barriers/challenges and share/collaborate around events happening across the ward to educate and support those impacted by OUD (see the News and Events tab). The following are data reports for each ward: