Edited from a Press Release

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Jeff Beeson, deputy director with the Washington Office of High Intensity Drug Trafficking Agency (HIDTA) along with Dr. Rahul Gupta, commissioner for the Bureau of Public Health and State Health Officer, and Chad Napier, the prevention coordinator for Appalachian HIDTA, will share an overview of a new program to help combat the overdose epidemic in the state.

 

The presentation on the new Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) will take place 1 p.m., Thursday, October 5 in the Memorial Student Center’s basement, room BE-5. Amy Saunders, director of student health education programs at the university, said elected officials, local law enforcement agencies, first responders and other public health agencies are encouraged to attend the event.

 

“Nationally, over 64,000 overdose deaths were reported in 2016 according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NDA),” Saunders said. “Preliminary data from 2017 shows that these numbers are continuing to climb as the nation tries to find effective solutions to address the crisis.”

 

Many states in the U.S. have lacked a consistent methodology to track overdoses, both fatal and non-fatal, in real time across jurisdictions, which is necessary to mobilize the public health response that is needed and capable of addressing this issue within our communities, according to Beeson.

 

"The rate of fatal overdoses continues to increase at an alarming rate, climbing by 19% from 2015 to 2016 and remaining the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50. We must alter the way we look at responding to the nation's drug threat and begin treating it like an infectious disease,” Beeson said. The ODMAP is a tool that links our public health and safety resources through data to maximize our resources in combatting this epidemic."

 

The ODMAP is an effective tool that can help communities by providing real-time overdose surveillance data across jurisdictions to support public safety and health efforts to mobilize an immediate response to an overdose spike. It links first responders on scene to an easy mapping tool app that can help track overdoses to stimulate real-time response and strategic analysis across jurisdictions. No personal identifying information is collected on the victim or location.

 

“An innovative and robust partnership between the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Office of Drug Control Policy and HIDTA in making available the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program within the state is critical to addressing this crisis,” Gupta said. “ODMAP will provide important and relevant data that can be used by law enforcement and public health officials to help identify specific communities and neighborhoods that are at increased risk of overdose deaths or overdose outbreaks.”

Gupta noted the pilot phases with multiple counties and states have shown that the app is effective in tracking fatal and nonfatal overdoses and spikes. To date, there is over 185 teaming agreements with groups using the app and hundreds of individuals interfacing with the system representing federal, state, and local public safety, health and policy groups.

 

“We look forward to bringing this tool to more counties in West Virginia,” Gupta said.

 

To learn more about the ODMAP program, contact Beeson at the Washington/Balitmore HIDTA Office by e-mailing jbeeson@wb.hidta.org.