I have written extensively on the opioid crisis. It is an epidemic that seems only to be increasing with each and every day. However, this crisis is not being ignored. It has become a serious enough problem that coalitions of organizations are now joining to try to find ways to mitigate opioid addiction and provide solutions for this significant societal issue.
Code for Philly is one such organization working with a coalition and state government entities to create life-saving tech. It is just one of several collaborative efforts attempting to use technology to help find solutions to this overwhelming opioid problem. I am encouraged by those who are working diligently to help others who are struggling with serious addictions.
This Fall the second iteration of a hackathon called Code4PA will take on the opioid crisis.
For the month-long event, citizens, academics, and other stakeholders in the fight against opioid addiction will work with state and federal datasets to develop apps, prototypes and other ideas focused on prevention, rescue and treatment.
“The opioid crisis affects Pennsylvanians from all walks of life and all parts of our state,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Through the command center, opioid dashboard and partnerships like Code4PA, my administration is taking an equally broad approach to identifying solutions to save lives.”
Aside from the local Code for America Brigade, which returned this year to help organize the hackathon, the list of organizations involved include the Pennsylvania Office of Administration, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Technology Council for Central PA and the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center.
“Even though the City of Philadelphia and the Governor’s office are regularly releasing interesting open data, people don’t have the opportunity on the regular to do a deep dive into that data,” Code for Philly co-director Toni McIntyre said via email. “This year’s Code4PA hackathon is a great way to dedicate time to exploring local and state data related to something that has impacted so many of our families personally. We’re hoping that after getting to explore this data, volunteers will come up with new insights, visualizations or tools that can help communities and individuals impacted by opioid use disorder.”
Last year, the hackathon’s winning project was KnowPA, a website that uses public data sets on traffic accidents and weather forecasts to produce seven-day predictions of fatality risks on the state’s roads.
“By working with state agencies and industry experts, we hope that the participants can find innovative solutions to this epidemic,” said Eric Darr, president of Harrisburg U.
Kudos to Code for Philly for their innovative work and effort!
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO