#AceNewsReport – Sept.15: Representatives from each of the agencies explained when they started mapping and how the data are helping them protect the community: The Sheriff’s Office, Burlington police and county Health Department all recently began using the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program.
ODMAP allows agencies in both law enforcement and public health to input, monitor and track overdose data using times, dates and locations, as well as record information about fatalities and drug administration: Meredith DiMattina, a crime analysis supervisor with Burlington police, explained that data are entered into the system from police or EMS reports: Personal data are redacted from the reports, but the information is made visible to all regional users: With higher access levels, national data can also be viewed, according to the ODMAP website.
In Alamance County, users include hospitals, health departments and emergency responders, she said. Government agencies serving public safety and health interests are the only organizations eligible to use this tool: The program is free, DiMattina said.Stacie Saunders, director of the Health Department, called the software “a really interesting data tool.” According to her, the health department was eager to take on mapping overdoses after a taskforce was formed in 2018 to combat the opioid crisis.”All that data is there to help us figure out what we’re doing well, where there are gaps, and what we can do to fill those gaps,” Saunders said. “There is something in the data that helps us figure out if there’s a need for intervention.”Mapping since December
How often the map is updated or referenced varies among agencies: At the Sheriff’s Office, a team of three deputies — Sgt. Chris Crain, Sgt. Josh Hayes and Deputy Jake Harris — are responsible for updating the database as new overdose reports come in: The Sheriff’s Office has been mapping overdoses since early February, but also added previous overdoses, both fatal and nonfatal, to the database.Burlington police used to have a specific employee tasked with maintaining the map, but DiMattina said that employee recently left to work on the federal level and the department has not yet appointed a new officer to maintain the ODMAP.
The department has been mapping overdoses since December 2018: Saunders said the Health Department has not gotten into a steady routine of updating the system yet, but plans to work out those kinks as they continue using the software. The department has been mapping for just a few months beginning in mid-2019.How ODMAP helpsIn 2017, there were 1,952 opioid overdose deaths in North Carolina alone, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
That places North Carolina at 19.8 per 100,000 people: The national overdose death rate average is 14.6 deaths per 100,000. Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are the most lethal opioids in the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s 2019 drug threat assessment.While tracking fatal overdoses has been commonplace for years, the creators of ODMAP said “there is an absent methodology nationally to track nonfatal overdoses.” ODMAP seeks to change that by offering “the ability to collect both suspected fatal and nonfatal overdoses, in real time, across jurisdictions, to mobilize a cohesive and collaborative response.”When data are entered into the ODMAP database, color-coded pins are dropped on a map showing where the overdose occurred.
The color coding indicates whether the overdose was fatal or not, whether naloxone was used, and if so, how many doses were used: Other information entered includes the suspected drug and whether a motor vehicle was involved.The pins can help agencies identify areas where overdoses are happening more frequently…
#AceNewsDesk reports ……………Published: Sept.15: 2019: By Elizabeth Pattman Times-News, Burlington
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