BALLSTON SPA — Saratoga County officials unveiled a new “comprehensive, near real-time substance use surveillance dashboard,” on Feb. 7 that coordinates and reports on substance use related data within Saratoga County.
Believed to be the first of its kind in use in upstate N.Y., county officials are hopeful the data the tool provides will aid in opioid and substance abuse education, prevention, treatment and response efforts.
“Death from opioid poisoning is a national issue of historic proportion,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Theodore Kusnierz, during Tuesday’s press conference unveiling the dashboard. The gathering included Clifton Park Supervisor and Health & Human Services Chair Philip Barrett, County Sheriff Michael Zurlo, and county Health Commissioner Daniel Kuhles, among others.
“Nationally we see about 50,000 overdose deaths per year and three-quarters of those deaths involve the use of synthetic or man-made opioids, other than methadone,” said Kusnierz, adding that the county will be re-investing millions of dollars, including funds received via opioid settlements, to “mitigate the growing influence of drugs and addiction in our communities, through a variety of programs.”
With the Surveillance Dashboard, Saratoga County Department of Health epidemiologists leverage data from six primary sources that originate across multiple disciplines (law enforcement, health care, mental health, and public health) to provide a comprehensive picture of the burden of substance use in the county. The standardized approach allows for the timely identification of concerning patterns, such as a spike in a limited geographic area over a defined period of time.
Drug-Related Overdoses in Saratoga County, 2018-2023
• 2018: 449.
• 2019: 467.
• 2020: 487.
• 2021: 584
• 2022: 671.
• 2023: 46 YTD.
According to the data, 48 of the 671 overdoses in 2022 were fatal. In 2023, those statistics are 7 fatalities of 46 overdoses, year-to-date.
The top five primary drugs in 2022 overdoses (that is, the first drug identified in the report and not including polydrug use) in order were: heroin, followed by RX drugs, fentanyl, oxycodone, alcohol.
Substance Use: Top Number of Annual Narcotic Prescriptions by Provider Zip Code
• Saratoga Springs (12866): 120,418.
• Clifton Park (12065): 85,250.
• Amsterdam – incl. portion of Saratoga County (12010): 60,929.
• Ballston Spa (12020): 34,186.
• Gansevoort – incl. portion of Wilton (12831): 23,676.
This narcotic prescription data – depicting the most recent information available in 2021 - is reflective of the provider zip code, and not of the patient receiving the prescription. As such, the totals may include non-Saratoga County residents.
Multiple departments across the county will benefit from this data including Department of Health, Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the Sheriff’s Office. The data will help identify high burden areas and to track overdose ‘hot spots’ to quickly focus on peer outreach, naloxone placement/distribution, and trainings throughout the county. The data will also be used to monitor trends over time and evaluate the impact of prevention and treatment programs such as: Jail MAT Program, Second Chance Program, and Naloxone distribution and administration in the County.
Saratoga County is also providing this public dashboard to assist healthcare organizations, first responders, community organizations, municipalities, and schools in their education, prevention, treatment and response efforts. Further, the dashboard provides residents with resources for mental health and substance use prevention and treatment.
To view the Surveillance Use Dashboard go to Savealifeto.day.
Drug-related overdoses by year in Saratoga Springs, as reported via Saratoga County’s new Substance Use Surveillance Dashboard at: Savealifeto.day.