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Data is helping Nevada monitor the opioid crisis

An online system for tracking the distribution of the anti-overdose drug Naloxone is giving the Nevada Health and Human Services Department a clearer view of the opioid epidemic, the department announced on Monday after nearly three years of work on the project. The tool, which allows organizations to report use of the drug and enables the human services department to centrally manage its distribution, has brought strategy to an effort where previously there was none. “[Previously,] we actually didn’t have much of a strategy,” said Dr. Stephanie Woodard, a senior health adviser at Nevada DHHS. Officials said the tool is helping, and they'll need it this year after more than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related deaths during the pandemic. Ryan Johnston has the story.

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North Carolina gets its first CTO

The North Carolina Department of Information Technology last week announced the appointment of Dan Kempton, its longtime head of engineering and cloud services, to the newly created position of chief technology officer. Kempton, who has worked for the state government since 2007, is officially North Carolina’s first CTO, officials said, and will enable NCDIT to "be more adaptable to situations" like it has responded to arising challenges during the pandemic. Kempton joined NCDIT as its cloud services director in 2016 after nearly a decade as the CTO for the North Carolina Department of Revenue. He also spent 12 years at what is now Dell EMC. Benjamin Freed has more.

Free Wi-Fi is coming to 3+ cities

The civic technology consulting group Ignite Cities announced on Tuesday a plan to bring free Wi-Fi to underserved neighborhoods in Chicago Miami, New Orleans, and Columbia, South Carolina, and potentially more cities as the academic year progresses. The project, which began on in Chicago in July, will install outdoor, solar-powered routers for students without internet access at home or the ability to access the internet in classrooms closed because of COVID-19. “Every family should have internet access and we need to do everything possible to resolve this across the country," said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. Ryan has the details.

Is your city running data drills?

During the coronavirus pandemic, data is guiding the decisions of government leaders on an hourly basis. But according to Amen Ra Mashariki, the former chief analytics officer for New York City, local government agencies still have a lot of work to do on improving their data governance. On the latest episode of StateScoop's Priorities podcast, Mashariki outlines his solution: data drills, tabletop exercises that allow various agencies across a government organization to prepare their technology and data-sharing policies for unexpected events just as law enforcement runs drills to prepare for terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Later in the episode, Virginia Chief Data Officer Carlos Rivero explains how a similar approach in his state — a data trust — has assisted pandemic response. Colin Wood hosts this episode.

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