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State health department launches interactive database in effort to curb opioid abuse

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is welcoming the addition of a new tool under its Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. In Harrisburg Tuesday, Governor Tom Wolf’s administration announced the launch of a new interactive database, which collects information on opioid prescriptions and drug overdoses in the Commonwealth.

“Primarily it is used as a tool to help physicians make more informed decisions when it comes to prescribing controlled substances to patients,” said Lauren Hughes, the deputy secretary of health innovation with the state health department.

The information in the database is available to the public. The Wolf administration says the statistics will help the Opioid Operational Command Center identify communities that are experiencing spikes in overdoses.

“We believe that this information, in the public’s hands, will be very powerful to understand where to prioritize our resources,” said Hughes, “and where to focus our efforts, in order to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic.”

The new database was created under the statewide disaster declaration for the opioid epidemic, announced by Governor Wolf on January 10.