The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU) has launched an online tool that will help track and prevent opioid overdoses.

The Early Warning System Opioid Dashboard is updated every Tuesday with opioid usage and overdose information from local hospitals, police, and paramedics, as well as the Ministry of Health and Public Health Ontario. The tool also allows residents to report anonymously on overdoses and opioid-related activities they’ve seen, and provides historical data on emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths related to opioid use in the region.

According to officials, this will help the health unit and its partner agencies better respond to overdoses. If a rise in overdoses is recorded, the health unit could alert the public and first responders about a potentially toxic drug supply. It would also help target certain areas with outreach campaigns, as well as the distribution of naloxone kits, an emergency drug that can pause an overdose.

This comes after the health unit warned of a rise in overdoses in the region last month. Officials say the tool has been in the works since 2020, which is when the project secured funding from the federal government.