Teams compete to fight opioid crisis with technology

First ever 'Opioid Datathon' organized by Virginia Tech Roanoke Center

By Taj Simmons - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - The solution to the opioid epidemic might lie in the numbers.

Virginia Tech Roanoke Center invited researchers to their first ever Opioid Datathon this weekend. Teams will compete for the best way to use data and numbers to combat the opioid crisis, such as using data to make an app.

"Without data, you're not able to tell a story," said David Conners of Virginia Tech Roanoke Center. "I mean we have to be able to use data with grant funding and when we talk with our legislators. It's really important to illustrate what's going on in our communities."

More than 1,200 Virginians died from an opioid overdose in 2017, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Datathon participants spent Friday listening to other researchers and drug prevention specialists talk about the seriousness of opioids.

 "We want folks to learn as well about the opioid epidemic," Conners said. "The new research that's out there, the new tools and resources...it's a really great opportunity for folks to be involved."

Teams will exhibit their submissions on Saturday.

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