New app tracks opioid overdoses in real time
The Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area created ODMAP to give responders data they need to treat victims quickly
By EMS1 Staff
WASHINGTON — An app has been created to track opioid overdoses in real time so responders can treat victims as quickly as possible.
Wired reported that the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area created ODMAP, which pairs street-level data with tools from the digital mapping company Esri to help responders track overdoses in real time.
Washington/Baltimore HIDTA said ODMAP is different from other tracking apps because it’s on a national scale. It focuses on mapping overdoses that are local or several states away.
"You've seen those epidemiology maps where a disease spreads outward from an initial set of dots? We're seeing similar patterns on a daily basis with ODMAP," Jeff Beeson, deputy director of Washington/Baltimore HIDTA, said.
If a spike in overdoses is registered on ODMAP, the app notifies not only local responders, but public health officials in other locations who will soon start seeing overdoses as well. Regional officials can use this knowledge to notify their communities.
"A lot of these geographic correlations, we didn't know they existed until we started tracking overdoses with the app," Beeson said. "We've never had overdose data like this before — and we've never shared it with each other.”
Responders said they like the app because it’s easy and free. While at the scene of an overdose, responders log in to the password-protected ODMAP to give details about the overdose, such as if it was fatal or if naloxone was administered. The information then goes to the central database.
ODMAP is now being used in 70 counties across 19 states.
“Ask any health or law enforcement agency in the country: we don’t have the time, and we don’t have the resources to sufficiently deal with the opioid crisis,” Beeson said. “We can’t throw money at it, and we can’t arrest our way out of it. But what we can do is use data and technology as a tool, to maximize what limited resources we have.”