Former Huntington Police Chief Skip Holbrook Among First to Use Overdose Tracking Ap

Updated 3 weeks ago Edited from a Press Release
Skip Holbrook
Skip Holbrook
File Photo

Drug overdose deaths killed over 53,000 Americans last year --- that's a few thousand more than the last census for Huntington's population. 

Dr Leana Wen, Baltimore health commissioner , told the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the summer of 2016 that real time overdose data was needed to apply resources. 

Speaking to Christine Vestal of the PBS News Hour, Dr. Wen's request led four months later to a phone ap --- ODMAP --- which in real time tracks overdoses and deaths for those first responders and policy makers on the front lines of the national epidemic. 

The first High Intensity Drug Tracking Area (HIDTA) served the Baltimore/Washington region. 

"With limited resources, it’s essential to target efforts where they are needed most, said Washington/Baltimore HIDTA deputy director Jeff Beeson in the PBS story.

Former Huntington Police Chief Skip Holbrook Among First to Use Overdose Tracking Ap

Data revealed that an OD outbreak in Baltimore would flare hours later in West Virginia and northern Virginia due to dealers taking flight on major highways. 

The real time ODMAP has been adopted for use , according to the News Hour in parts of Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

By entering a series of six codes, emergency responders send fresh data of overdose treatments to the data base, allowing other regions to anticipate the spread of lethal drug combinations.

Former Huntington Police Chief Skip Holbrook, now chief in Columbia, S.C., had been at ground zero of the heroin epidemic. His department was one of the first to use the ap.

On the News Hour, Holbrook described how he immediately saw the value of the tracking tool because his last job was in West Virginia, where the overdose rate is highest in the nation. He said he learned from his tenure in Appalachia that illicit drugs and the crime and deaths they cause seldom remain isolated.

When he started his job in Columbia, Holbrook anticipated that drug issues from Myrtle Beach would soon spread to Columbia. and Richland County. 

Now, his concerns have come true but Holbrook's team has the proactive advantage of the ap:

Since the Richland and Charleston County Sheriff's Departments input data to ODMAP, it allows officials in Columbia to   see where, and how quickly, the problem is spreading, which has allowed the Columbia police force to be more proactive.

Former Huntington Police Chief Skip Holbrook Among First to Use Overdose Tracking Ap

“It’s not a matter of whether the drugs will come to your jurisdiction,” Holbrook said, “but when and how prepared you’re going to be.”

For additional information on ODMAP, visit: http://www.hidta.org/odmap

 


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