June 09, 2021 Pueblo, CO – A public data dashboard on substance use prevention and treatment metrics is now available at pueblohealth.org. The dashboard highlights data linked to substance use in Pueblo County and shows how data has historically been used to inform and make decisions. The creation of this dashboard was supported by a grant awarded from the Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) on behalf of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The points of view do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.  

The health department facilitates the Pueblo County Partnership for Data (PCPD), supported by the BJA grant, which engages the Substance Use Response System (SURE) as a stakeholder group. SURE is a community coalition that has been working in Pueblo County for several years and provided the foundation for receiving this grant. SURE built the foundation for data collection that has developed into the PCPD project.  

Sarah Money, SURE member and Syringe Access Program manager with Southern Colorado Health Network, said “As we all see different aspects of substance use, collaboration is the only way to effectively identify action steps to address substance use in the community.”  

This project is a multi-sector collaboration working to make data available in order to inform data-driven decisions which address issues concerning substance use in Pueblo County. Christine Zeitvogel, project manager for Pueblo Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion LEAD® and SURE member added, “Most of us collect data and have a clear understanding of our piece of the puzzle. With this data project, we have begun to put the pieces together to create a bigger picture that we can use to figure out what we are doing correctly and where we need to change course.” 

This dashboard was created for the public to review and consider the impact of substance use in the community, and to enable data-driven decision making. Access to up-to-date and relevant data like this helps work towards SURE’s goal of reducing substance use and its impacts in Pueblo County. Steve Shirley, chief information officer with Parkview Health System and member of the PCPD Executive Committee, explained, “The data dashboard represents a powerful collaborative effort by a diverse number of human service providers in our community. We all work with data in different ways, but when the information is brought together, we can identify and address pressing community human challenges.”  

Sarah Money continued on to highlight how the dashboard has already been useful in practice, describing, “In harm reduction, the dashboard has been really helpful.  We were able to see that overdose deaths have increased, but overdose reversals have also increased.  This goes to show that opioid overdoses are increasing, and our participants are vital in saving lives. It helps justify the need for naloxone and fentanyl test strips, as well as shifting our education to encourage people to carry multiple doses of naloxone, as well as encourage them to call 911.” 

Within the PDPD project, a Quick Response Team that responds to individuals who have experienced an overdose event has been developed in collaboration with the Pueblo Fire Department, as well as a community peer resource through Community ReEntry office.  

Eileen Dennis, Data Specialist with Pueblo Triple Aim Corporation, summed the data dashboard up saying “Without good local data, a community wanders in the dark. Taking potshots without ever hitting the target.”   

For more information, visit county.pueblo.org/public-health/substance-use-data-pueblo-county or call 719-583-4512. 

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