WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - It’s a new tool in the fight against the ongoing opioid epidemic.
Aimed at identifying where overdose and drug use occurs in Wilmington, the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) is new technology the Wilmington Police Department started using in April 2018.
“It gives us an opportunity to really see where these overdoses take place and reach out to the areas of concern, and bring out folks to do outreach to addicts that may be in these areas of concentration,” said Deputy Chief Mitch Cunningham.
When an officer responds to an overdose, they immediately note the area where it occurred, the nature of the incident and how much Narcan was administered. This way, they can identify hot spots, assign additional patrols, and even carry extra Narcan to high drug use areas based on the populated map data.
Since March 2016, Wilmington police have saved 180 lives by administering Narcan after a drug overdose. The mobile tool tracks both deaths and rescues as they happen.
“This also helps us zero in on where drug deals are happening because obviously where the drug dealing is taking place, an addict will be near," Cunningham said. "They won’t drive far to begin using it.”
Cunningham says the mapping system not only helps crack down on crime and identify overdose and drug hot spots, but it also assists with where officers need to focus their community outreach.
“We can easily see where we need to go, and we can use that data long term to see if our activities and programs, initiatives and impacts are having a long term effect in reducing overdoses and reducing addiction,” Cunningham said.
ODMAP is used by more than 250 law enforcement, first responder and public health agencies in 27 states.