How outreach workers use data to battle drug poisoning crisis in Edmonton

There is a bar graph of overdose emergency calls provided by Edmonton Fire Rescue Services, Edmonton Transit and the 24/7 Crisis Diversion Team. It’s an incomplete picture—the data captures just a fraction of the crisis on Edmonton’s streets.

Together, the graph, with its towers of different heights, resembles a skyline. City of Edmonton data scientists are among those troubled by the view.

“We can never replicate services that are being provided by outreach workers,” said Kris Andreychuk, Manager, Data Science and Research with the City of Edmonton. 

“That’s really what’s saving lives, that’s really the meaningful work. This isn’t gonna solve the issue. We have no illusions of this solving the issue, but we do know that this is going to help prioritize some of our efforts.”

“This” is a new opioid dashboard, which collects data from different agencies to produce a snapshot of emergency overdose calls so outreach workers have the latest, timely information to guide their efforts. 

Here’s a new video with more of the important story:

If you come across someone you believe is suffering from a drug overdose, call 911. Use a naloxone kit if you have one. Stay with the person until help arrives. Get more information on drug poisoning prevention.