Data-driven UA Team Wins $1M Grant to Develop Opioid Abuse Tool for Law Enforcement and Community Partners

Data-driven UA Team Wins $1M Grant to Develop Opioid Abuse Tool for Law Enforcement and Community Partners

  • October 11th, 2018

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Across the country, opioid abuse has reached epidemic levels, severely impacting communities and straining public safety resources. The Institute of Business Analytics (IBA), a research unit at The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business, announced today that it has received a nearly $1 million grant from the Office of Justice Programs at the US Department of Justice to develop a data-driven tool to help end users better understand the scope of the opioid epidemic in Alabama and how to intelligently allocate resources.

The University of Alabama team, which consists of principle investigators Dr. Matthew Hudnall, Dr. Jason Parton, and Dr. Dwight Lewis, will develop the Unified Nexus for Leveraging Opioid Crime Knowledge (UNLOCK) system that pulls in data from multiple sources and analyzes it using high-powered computing techniques to create reports that will assist field officers, law enforcement administrators, prosecutors, community affiliates, public health providers, and researchers in their work combating the abuse of opioids in Alabama.

“Critical data about the opioid epidemic comes from a multitude of sources including public health entities, law enforcement, and municipalities. UNLOCK brings those data together to create intelligent, actionable recommendations that end users can deploy in their work fighting opioid abuse,” said Dr. Hudnall, who is Associate Director of the IBA.

The data that UNLOCK will use includes summarized toxicology information, evidence test results, coroner death report information, and other geo-referenced data.

This award was made as the result of a highly competitive grant solicitation issued by Office of Justice Programs in the spring titled Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Program that resulted in 46 awards nationwide.

Dr. Jason Parton, Director of the IBA, said “Many of us are very aware of the ways that the opioid crisis has negatively impacted communities and families across the state. My team and I are excited about the promise of UNLOCK as a tool to counter the crisis.”

Contact Dr. Matthew Hudnall at 205-348-0856 or