In an effort to determine the scope of the drug epidemic within Plymouth County, District Attorney Tim Cruz and Sheriff Joe McDonald have created the Data Subcommittee of the Plymouth County Drug Abuse Task Force.
Data collection is critical to the sharing of information and the tracking of the current trends of the opioid epidemic within Plymouth County. Data collection is vital as it indicates exactly where we need to place our resources in order to effect the most change.
In order to obtain true statistics, it is necessary to collect data throughout the county in the same organized, uniform way.
When the Task Force began to examine the Opioid problem within our county, we found that police departments, town halls, EMS providers and hospitals were all collecting their data differently. They were collecting data for their agencies specific needs. The various methods of data collection were causing overlapping data and providing false numbers.
To get around these hurdles, The Task Force members worked with all of the Police Chiefs, Fire Chiefs, area hospitals, EMS providers and schools to implement a county-wide strategy to collect data.
An intake form was created and handed out to all of these agencies to identify the kind of data they would like to collect; the method they were using to collect their data; and their purpose for collecting this data.
The intake form proved successful, we were able to see the discrepancies with the data between departments, and the discrepancies in the methods of how the data was collected.
The present goal that the Data Subcommittee is working on, is the ability to access statistics based on real time data. To achieve this goal, a centralized database has been created by Kelly Research & Associates. The database is solely funded through our task force.
This centralized database will enable us to share data and track current trends across Plymouth County in real time. The above mentioned agencies across Plymouth County have all entered into an agreement to utilize this database through our task force initiative-The Plymouth County Outreach.
The database is currently a work in progress and will continue to be enhanced to meet future needs.