Staten Island agencies using AI-based program to combat overdose deaths

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Wednesday, November 10, 2021
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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Staten Island agencies are using an AI-based analytics program to combat record overdose deaths.

STATEN ISLAND, New York City (WABC) -- In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Staten Island agencies are using an artificial intelligence-based analytics program to combat record overdose deaths.

Lockdowns, remote work, and people generally staying at home put a stranglehold on those vulnerable to overdose. In response, the Secure Future Project is launching the new AI-based predictive analytics program to identify, engage, and provide services to those at higher risk for overdose.

Staten Island Performing Provider System (SI PPS) and partners announced what they call a game-changing $4 million investment to combat the opioid crisis, funded by both Northwell Health and a $3 million grant from the Secure Future Project and its founders.

WATCH | Tri-State Opioid Epidemic: Struggles and Solutions Town Hall from Eyewitness News

Megan Wohltjen, whose brother Samuel Grunland passed away in March 2020 due to an overdose linked to fentanyl, voiced her support for the new program, called "Hotspotting the Opioid Crisis."

Grunland lost his battle with substance use disorder after being separated from his support systems during the pandemic, and Wohltjen shared her brother's story in support of the "Hotspotting" project out of the belief that programs like it will prevent such horrific tragedies.

In collaboration with the MIT Sloan School of Management, SI PPS has developed a system of AI-based predictive analytics to focus the initiative's efforts on community members who are most at risk of suffering from an overdose.

Many of these individuals have been inadequately engaged in care, have left treatment programs, or have been impacted by system-wide issues such as a lack of access to in-person services.

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The "Hotspotting the Opioid Crisis" program will deploy fully-funded teams whose sole focus will be on preventing opioid harm by engaging and coordinating these high-risk individuals in their recovery journey, thereby improving outcomes and delivering value to the health system.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan also announced plans to explore expanding the program to their respective jurisdictions.

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