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Virginia Expands Data-Sharing Platform in Opioid Fight

Gov. Ralph Northam has expanded the state's Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation, a data-sharing platform, to include Roanoke Valley, where opioid-related deaths have quadrupled in recent years.

Virginia is expanding its Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation [FAACT], a data-sharing platform meant to aid in the fight against the opioid epidemic, Gov. Ralph Northam has announced.

Initially launched as a pilot in 2018, FAACT shares data between government, and public and private entities. The program combines separate data points from law enforcement, state, county and local agencies, courts, health-care and social services entities, and others, according to a press release from the governor’s office. The Department of Criminal Justice Services, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, and Qlarion Inc., partnered to develop and deploy FAACT in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.

Due to the platform’s success, Northam decided to increase the FAACT coverage area to include the Roanoke Valley.

“As a Commonwealth, we must be strategic and proactive in helping individuals struggling with addiction and addressing the opioid crisis in our communities,” Northam said in a prepared statement. “As a physician, I know that we cannot defeat this epidemic in isolation. With the expansion of this platform, we will enable more of our government agencies and local organizations to share important data and improve their ability to work together to translate that information into real solutions that can save lives.”

FAACT provides officials with an empirical view of the epidemic, which helps in better decision-making, said Lauren Cummings, executive director of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Council.

“Based on the collective analysis of the platform, we have gained incredible insight, like when our area has experienced a spike in overdoses, and in turn we have been able to deploy resources and make key adjustments to prevent further harm,” Cummings said.

Between 2016 to 2017, Roanoke Valley saw opioid-related deaths quadruple, the release states. Qlarion will work with the Roanoke Valley Collective Response as the expansion gets underway.

“Access to the FAACT system will allow our region to share information and coordinate our response,” said Nancy Hans, co-chair of the Roanoke Valley Collective Response. “This will enhance our abilities and understanding of what is happening in our community and enable us to better address the issues we’re seeing.”

The continuation and expansion of FAACT will be funded by opioid-response federal grants from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Patrick Groves was a staff writer for Government Technology from 2019 to 2020.