Data Sharing to Combat the Opioid Crisis in Green County
UniversityUniversity of Wisconsin - Madison
Case TypeProject Stories
DisciplinePopulation Health Sciences
RegionEPA Region 5, USA
University Department CodePublic Health
Sustainable Development Goals03 Good Health and Well-Being
Opioid Crisis in Green County The Healthy Community Coalition of Green County, WI, has identified reducing substance
abuse as a high priority goal (Green County, 2018). Opioid use in particular is concerning;
Wisconsin as a whole is in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic driven by opioids (Wisconsin
DHS, 2017). Between 2013-2015, Green County had 7 overdose deaths involving opioids with a
rate of 6.3 opioid overdose deaths per 100,000 persons.
There has been a ten-fold rise in Green Country hospital encounters involving opioids since 2006
(Wisconsin DHS, 2017). Compared to other Wisconsin counties in 2014, Green County is in the
highest quintile for rates of hospitalizations involving opioids in general (58.7 hospitalizations
per 100,000 persons), opioid prescriptions (40.6 hospitalizations per 100,000 persons), and
heroin poisonings (13.5 hospitalizations per 100,000 persons). Between 2011 and 2015,
ambulance runs in Green County where Naloxone was administered has more than doubled, and
rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome has steeply increased. Additionally, the number of Green
County residents seeking opioid treatment by the Department of Human Services has tripled in
recent years (Gibson, 2018).
The Need for Data Sharing
There are multiple stakeholders involved in the opioid epidemic, including law enforcement,
courts, jails, healthcare, and emergency medical services (EMS). Each of these stakeholders’
perspective is crucial to understanding the broad factors contributing to and driving this opioid
use. In Green County, community partners are motivated to address this opioid use, but each
stakeholder only has access to part of the data. Community partners must be able to effectively
communicate these views, as well as data related to opioids, to develop appropriate solutions.
Currently, Green County stakeholders rely on data from the Department of Health Services for
opioid-related health outcomes. This data is often outdated by several years, which leads to
delays in fully understanding this rapidly evolving epidemic and makes it difficult to achieve
adequate funding and implement programs.
To combat this issue, Green County hopes to develop a platform that will allow for opioidrelated data to be shared between agencies. Community partners would update the platform
regularly so the data remains relevant and easily accessible. Access to a diverse set of data would
improve understanding of local opioid use, help develop policy recommendations to address
opioid use, and be a key component of grant application processes, which in turn will provide
opportunities to increase funding for opioid related programs in Green County. It is hoped that
this data sharing initiative would also increase collaboration between stakeholders and facilitate
development of mutual strategies and goals. Overall, this would facilitate a better informed and
more efficient approach to the opioid crisis in Green County.
The goal of our project was to create a plan and timeline for the development of a data sharing
platform in Green County by analyzing examples and best practices of data sharing initiatives.
Below, we have provided community stakeholders with detailed information on appropriate
methods for data collection and management, as well as opioid-related metrics to consider
including. Our timeline will consist of short, medium, and long-term goals for the community to
work towards in addressing the issue of data sharing for opioid use.
UniverCity Year Contact Info
University Faculty Contact
Population Health Sciences
Local Government / Community Contact