This article discusses the takeaways from a data repository created in Alabama to study and address the opioid epidemic.
Alabama, being the highest opioid prescription per-capita state since 2012, has pulled together state agencies, private companies, academia, and community organizations to form a data council and repository to provide unified insights and information to the public and partner stakeholders. The lessons learned in constructing this data environment are documented so other states and organizations can benefit from the challenges and success that Alabama has experienced. By bringing together multiple data sources and linking them, a clearer picture of trends, influences, and metrics can be obtained. The centralized data repository consists of almost a dozen data streams from public agencies and private companies. The data are transformed and linked within the repository to provide geo-temporal linkages between data sources. The data are stored in a secure multi-tiered environment in a Microsoft SQL Server database, de-identified, aggregated, and then published to a public web portal for open consumption. The public-facing website from the project successfully integrates multiple disparate data sources into a common platform for streamlined and cohesive data communications. The purpose of this case report is to highlight activities in developing Alabama’s Drug Use Centralized Data Repository (DrugUse-CDR). More specifically, the authors will highlight (1) the origins of DrugUse-CDR, (2) the academic–government collaboration in DrugUse-CDR, (3) the success and challenges of DrugUse-CDR, and (4) the next steps of the program. (Published Abstract Provided)