September 28 - 29, 2017

At the Library of Virginia, 8:00 am - 5:00 PM

Map and Directions Official Rules

Team registration is currently full. Please feel free to sign up on the waitlist and we will be in touch if a spot opens up.

Sign up for the waitlist

The Governor’s Opioid Addiction Crisis Datathon is a groundbreaking competition that will bring together multi-discipline teams comprised of individuals from government, higher education, private industry, and non-profits together to take new and existing datasets and turn it into actionable information that will support the Governor’s goal of using data and analytics to stem the tide of the opioid crisis, reduce addiction harm, and save lives.

Data stewards from health, public safety, and other agencies across federal, state, and local government and health systems will provide existing and new non-sensitive de-identified data to this challenge for the teams to explore and use.   

Please email if you have any questions.

Data Solutions to the Opioid Crisis

In 2016, Virginia’s Commissioner of Health, Dr. Marissa Levine, declared the opioid and heroin overdose epidemic to be a public health emergency.  Overdose deaths have continued to increase year after year; over 1400 Virginians lost their lives to drug overdose in 2016, and 1133 of those were attributable to prescription opioids and heroin.  This is a war being fought on two fronts.  While prescription opioids are driving the epidemic in Southwest Virginia, heroin/fentanyl pose an additional factor in the rest of the Commonwealth.  This indicates that the ways in which we address prevention, treatment, and interdiction must be data-driven and tailored to the needs of individual communities.  Collaborative responses and strategies involving both public safety and public health are imperative in ending this crisis in Virginia. 

Recent data shows these alarming trends in Virginia:

  • Heroin overdose deaths have increased every year since 2010, and between 2015 and 2016, increased by 31%.
  • The presence of synthetic fentanyl and fentanyl analogs in overdose deaths has increased every year since 2012, and between 2015 and 2016, fentanyl deaths increased 174.7%.
  • Emergency department visits for heroin overdose for January-September 2016 increased 89% compared to the same nine month period in 2015
  • Fatal drug overdoses became the number one method of unnatural death in 2013.
  • The rate of reported cases of Hepatitis C (HCV) increased 28% between 2010 and 2015, with the primary risk factor being injection drug use.

The teams will be encouraged to develop new insights and applications that will answer burning questions and address challenges that face government and community stakeholders.

Burning Questions and Challenges to Consider


  1. What are some new ways to approach prevention among adolescents and young people?
  2. How do we address the addiction-related stigma that acts as a barrier to treatment?
  3. What risk factors can be used to identify individuals early in need of treatment?
  4. Are there innovative ways we can work together to reduce the harm of ongoing use both to the individual and the community?
  5. How do we better share data between local health care providers and law enforcement to keep deadly forms of heroin and fentanyl from devastating a community when they begin to appear?
  6. What are the hot spots of related activities (ex. drug dealing, robbery, and car jackings) in relation to Opioid related incidents?
  7. Can an algorithm be created to use risk factors and open data to predict where opioid overdoses and related deaths are likely to occur in the future?
  8. What is the process by which individuals abusing prescription opioids switch to heroin and/or illicit fentanyl?
  9. Research has indicated that individuals suffering from depression are at a higher risk of opioid abuse (e.g., Is depression a substantial factor in the rise in opioid abuse and overdose fatalities?


  1. Currently, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in Virginia, outpacing deaths from gun violence and motor vehicle accidents. There is an urgent need to find ways to prevent and treat this fatal sequelae of addiction. Virginia’s current treatment capacity is not enough to meet the demand.
  2. Different geographic regions experience the opioid overdose epidemic differently. In Southwest Virginia, prescription opioid abuse is more common than heroin or illicit fentanyl use. In Northern Virginia and Tidewater, the reverse is true. Different strategies may be needed for different regions, to account for differences in the preferred drug type and also for regional differences in cultural and social norms and values. 


Timeframe and what to Expect

How the Challenge Works

Part One:
Data Discovery - University Interns

  • Interns from the Governor’s Data Internship Program (GDIP) will work off-site on data discovery from May 15th - August 10th.  Their main focus will be identifying datasets that will be useful for teams to leverage for the Datathon.  A newly identified dataset will be reviewed by the GDIP program manager and approval given by the data steward before being posted on Virginia’s Open Data Portal.
  • Participating schools include: George Washington University and George Mason University

Part Two
The Competition

  • Domain subject matter experts from state and local government entities, and non-profits will be collaborating with the teams as they work on their solutions.
  • A maximum of 15 teams will work on solution development from September 28th and 29th at the Library of Virginia (LVA).
  • Final pitching and judging will occur on September 29th at 3:15pm.
  • Awards will be presented to the top three teams.

Judging Criteria


  • Demonstrates potential for widespread public health and/or public safety impact
  • Shows innovation is addressing one of the burning questions or challenges identified or a clear public health and/or public safety need
  • Demonstrates strong demand (social, clinical and/or economic impact)
  • Feasible to partner with organizations to disseminate technology/process
  • High success for implementation

Innovation/Technical Achievement

  • Provides convincing rationale for why this unique approach has the potential to work (if not already developed)
  • Offers new and creative technology or process innovation solution (‘better/faster/cheaper’)
  • Addresses significant technical or process issues relevant for the users and implementation setting


  • Brings cross-disciplinary expertise in technology/process development, clinical medicine and business/ implementation
  • Used a diverse set of data in visualization and/or application
  • Incorporates end-user input/feedback 

First Prize

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo Show for each member of the team (up to 6)

Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Watch video flash briefings, Amazon Video content, and YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, browse and listen to Audible audiobooks, and more. All hands-free—just ask.


Second Prize

Apple TV

Apple TV (32GB) for each member of the team (up to 6)

The future of television starts with apps. You already use apps like Netflix, Hulu, HBO NOW and WatchESPN to watch TV on your mobile devices. The same thing is happening with apps on your big screen, and Apple TV is designed around this reality. The Siri Remote with Touch surface takes the effort out of searching through all these apps to find something great to watch. In addition, the App Store brings games and apps to your television with big experiences created specifically for the living room. With Apple TV, the future of television is here.


Third Prize


Echo Dot (2nd Generation) - Black + Philips Hue White Starter Kit for each member of the team (up to 6)

Echo Dot (2nd Generation) is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, read the news, set alarms, read audiobooks from Audible, control Amazon Video on Fire TV, and more.

Enhance your home with soft white lighting, controlled remotely wherever you are. Set timers and light schedules, automating your lights to make it seem like someone is home even when you are away.






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