Partnerships between the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office (CCMEO) and the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education have allowed for the creation of a comprehensive database of over 250+ variables to understand fatal overdoses in the county.
A team of researchers recently published an article on the importance of using local medicolegal and seizure data for surveillance to prevent fatal overdoses in local communities. They found that the local drug supply in Cuyahoga County continues to be unsafe, particularly with the role of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs in the drug supply and decedents’ toxicology.
The researchers emphasized the importance of harm-reduction strategies (e.g., fentanyl test strips, narcan, not using alone) to help decrease fatal overdoses.
Their paper, titled “A case study for local data surveillance in opioid overdose fatalities in Cuyahoga County, OH 2016-2020,” was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence Report.
The research team was composed of:
- Daniel J. Flannery, director of the Begun Center and Distinguished University Professor;
- Ivette Noriega, senior research associate at the Begun Center;
- Vaishali Deo, research associate at the Begun Center;
- Sarah Fulton, research associate at the Begun Center;
- Manreet Bhullar (GRS ’19, public health) forensic epidemiologist at the CCMEO; and
- Thomas Gilson, chief medical examiner at the CCMEO.