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Using probabilistic matching to improve opioid drug overdose surveillance, New Jersey


The opioid drug overdose crisis presents serious challenges to state-based public health surveillance programs, not the least of which is uncertainty in the detection of cases in existing data systems. New Jersey historically had slightly higher unintentional drug overdose death rates than the national average, but by 2001 dramatic increases in drug overdose deaths in states like West Virginia began to drive up the national rate (Figure 1). Although the rise in New Jersey's fatal overdose rates has mirrored the national rate since 1999, the rate has dramatically increased since 2011- from 9.7 per 100,000 (868 deaths) to 21.9 per 100,000 in 2016 (1,931 deaths), an increase of 125% in five years.1 The New Jersey Department of Health has been funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct surveillance of opioid-involved overdoses through the Enhanced Surveillance of Opioid-Involved Overdose in States (ESOOS) program, and to conduct syndromic surveillance through the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP); this has presented a collaboration opportunity for the Department's surveillance grantee programs to use existing resources to evaluate and refine New Jersey’s drug overdose case definitions and develop new indicators to measure the burden of overdose throughout the state and to facilitate effective responses.

Objective: Link syndromic surveillance data for potential opioid-involved overdoses with hospital discharge data to assess positive predictive value of CDC Opioid Classifiers for conducting surveillance on acute drug overdoses.

Submitted by elamb on