An online dashboard that reports information on substance use, arrests and child removal cases is now available as an ongoing snapshot of the impact of substance use disorder in the Wabash Valley.

The Substance Use Disorders Impact Council of the United Way of the Wabash Valley has published the dashboard to bring awareness to the enormous toll that substance use and related disorders have in the community.

The link to the dashboard is available at www.uwwv.org. The dashboard is also available at uwwv.org/substance-use-disorders-impact-council/.

Covering the counties of Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties in Indiana and Edgar County in Illinois, the dashboard presents data in colorful graphics for each county and substance by month and during several years.

For example, more than 2,100 arrests were reported in the six-county area in 2021. Vigo County had 1,275 of those arrests. Almost 500 of those 1,275 arrests were related to methamphetamine.

“One of the most important things we can do as a community partner is to define the problems we’re fighting in measurable terms, then help our community narrow focus onto these metrics. The whole community wins when these measurements move in the right direction,” said Richard Payonk, executive director for UWWV. “Also, our dashboard is a transparent view for our donors and our community on how we are measuring the impact of our investments and our work.”

The United Way has multiple impact councils that focus on a community initiative such as volunteerism, health, education and financial stability.

The new dashboard on substance use shows related arrests, child removal cases, the prevalence of substance use among middle and high school students. The data comes from local law enforcement agencies, the Indiana Department of Child Services and the Indiana Youth Survey.

The dashboard will be updated quarterly with the arrest information, and annually with the DCS and youth survey information.

The public can use the dashboard to select data based on county, substance use or timeframe to better understand trends at the local level.

“We know that substance use affects more than just the individual and has a ripple effect on their family and community overall,” said Mark Johnson, the United Way’s community impact director.

Local law enforcement agencies support the sharing of the data to show the magnitude of the substance use problem and to invite community support in addressing the issue.

“We’re better when we share common goals and work together on measurable results,” Johnson said.

The United Way has a goal of moving 10,000 families out of struggles into stability to create a stronger Wabash Valley.
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