Forensic Technology Center of Excellence

Introduction

Forensic Epidemiology: Monitoring Fatal Drug Overdose Trends

Forensic Epidemiology: Monitoring Fatal Drug Overdose Trends

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This webinar originally occurred on February 11th, 2020
Duration: 1 hour

Given the vital role of medical examiners and coroners (ME/C) in recognizing emerging trends in drug overdose deaths, partnering epidemiologists with ME/C offices can greatly enhance the utility of the significant volume of data generated by medicolegal death investigation. Epidemiologists from three unique ME jurisdictions—North Carolina, New Mexico and Virginia—share their experiences with monitoring drug overdose deaths, trends observed, and how best to utilize ME/C data to inform public health policy.

Medical examiners and coroners (ME/C) are key players when it comes to recognizing emerging drug trends in relationship to drug overdose deaths. By partnering epidemiologists with ME/C offices, we can fully utilize the significant volume of data generated by medicolegal death investigation.

This webinar began with four subject matter experts sharing their experiences from their respective states. The first presenters are Alison Miller, MA and Dr. Justin Brower, who discussed their North Carolina experience. She is followed by New Mexico’s Sarah Lathrop, DVM, PhD. Third, Kathrin “Rose” Hobron, MPH, shares her experience in Virginia.

The second half of the webinar included a roundtable discussion concerning the intersection of epidemiology and medicolegal death investigation in drug overdose deaths. Topics included what your medical examiner-based epidemiologist can do for you, past and present trends in drug overdose deaths, the importance of working partnerships and data dissemination, and more.

Detailed Learning Objectives:
1.) Describe the potential role of epidemiologists in medical examiner offices and how they can assist in utilizing medicolegal death investigation data.
2.) Understand current trends in drug overdose deaths as analyzed by three large statewide ME jurisdictions.
3.) Understand the challenge of balancing state-mandated priorities with research and public health outreach.

Presenters:
Sarah L. Lathrop | DVM, PhD, Professor of Pathology and OMI Epidemiologist
Alison Miller | MA, Epidemiologist, Grant Program Manager for the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
Kathrin 'Rosie' Hobron | Epidemiologist with Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME)

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Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence event has been provided by the National Institute of Justice.

Please contact us at ForensicCOE@rti.org for any questions.

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