The stigma associated with addiction impacts every aspect of the opioid epidemic, beginning with determining the scope of the problem. Cities and towns on the front lines of the epidemic have begun using experimental solutions from real-time overdose maps to sewer robots to try to get a handle on the extent of the opioid crisis in their own backyards. Linda Poon, an assistant editor at CityLab covering science and urban technology, joins Greg in this episode to talk about an article she wrote titled “The Race to Learn What’s Really Happening in the Opioid Crisis”. In the article Linda profiles experimental programs with promise to help communities accurately assess the scope of the opioid crisis. As they begin the interview, Linda frames the problem she wrote the article about as a data collection problem.
Later, Greg interviews Mike Bajorek, the Deputy Town Manager for Cary, NC. to learn about a pilot project to determine the scope of the problem by sampling wastewater. Mike discusses how his community partnered with Biobot to pinpoint regions within Cary to determine what opioids are being used, where they are being used and how much people are using. With this unique dataset, cities can target how and where to delegate resources that will help fight the epidemic.