Drug Enforcement Administration Overdose Death Report, 2016, County U.S. Department of Justicedata.pa.gov | Last Updated 15 Feb 2019
The coroners and medical examiners of Pennsylvania are critically important partners in the joint endeavors of the aforementioned stakeholders and are commended for their efforts in data collection and sharing, especially in light of the limited resources of personnel, equipment, and budgets that impact many. The DEA Philadelphia Field Division requested assistance from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Pharmacy, Program Evaluation Research Unit (PERU), Technical Assistance Center (TAC), in analyzing this public health data. I extend my gratitude to PERU Director Dr. Janice Pringle, and the TAC, including Program Director Dr. Lynn Mirigian and Research Specialists Laken Ethun, Allison Burrell, Erin Straw, and Marco Pugliese, for their assistance in interpretation and visualization of the data. Through this collaboration, DEA is able to ensure the Commonwealth’s stakeholders and citizens receive a professional and accurate analysis generated by experts in the law enforcement and public health fields. In 2008, the DEA Philadelphia Field Division (PFD) Intelligence Program initiated a data collection process in Philadelphia County to collect drug-related overdose death data. This collection process continued for several years, expanding to statewide collection of drug-related overdose death data from Pennsylvania’s 67 counties in 2013; the PFD published statewide overdose death reports reflecting 2014 and 2015 data in 2015 and 2016, respectively. These reports were used by law enforcement to drive investigations into drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and to identify trends in drug distribution and use. They also provided vital data for state and county law enforcement agencies, public health and treatment entities, and opioid overdose focused task forces to use in making informed decisions regarding resource allocations and to develop strategies to address the overdose epidemic.