Oklahoma First Responders Get High-Tech Tool to Use in Opioid Crisis

6 hours ago

Oklahoma first responders and public health agencies can now use ODMAP, a nationwide system that lets users share real time overdose data.

First responders and public health agencies can now see overdose information across Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is offering access to the nationwide Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, or ODMAP. Developed through the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, ODMAP lets agencies share data on overdoses in real time by entering nine pieces of information into a smart phone app.

Agencies can see overdose trends and even set an alert for when they spike.

"Oklahoma County could decide if there’s five overdoses within a 24 hour period, then they want a spike alert so they can mobilize resources, and the system will do that for them," said OBN Research Director Angie Woodward. "The goal is to mobilize resources as quick as we can and to save lives as fast as possible."

Deploying the system was a top recommendation of Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter's Commission on Opioid Abuse.

"The realtime data that [ODMAP] provides allows for an immediate response, targeting hotspot areas and shutting down criminal drug dealers. This is an asset that we simply had to provide our law enforcement partners," Hunter said.

Eight agencies in LeFlore, Custer and Garvin counties have been testing out ODMAP since June. OBN is offering free training on the system and hopes to have it statewide by the summer.

OBN Director John Scully said Friday in addition to using ODMAP, he’s made a few new hires to help reduce opioid overdoses.

"What you see here today are 10 new diversion investigators with OBN that are deployed throughout the state of Oklahoma to provide adequate investigative tools to impact the opioid epidemic. All 10 of these agents have law enforcement and investigative backgrounds," Scully said.

Overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers have declined in Oklahoma nearly 40 percent over the past five years, but officials saidthere are still far too many.

Hunter said opioid addicts commonly turn to heroin, which is increasingly being laced with the deadly narcotic fentanyl.