Shelby County tracking opioid overdoses in real time

(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Mar. 14, 2019 at 6:20 PM CDT
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SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - Addiction specialists and social workers showcased the technology at an opioid summit on Thursday in Memphis.

Shelby County is the first in Tennessee to use a new mapping database using information related to overdose calls to track opioid trends. The tool provides a real time look at Shelby County’s opioid crisis.

“It will help us see what’s going on as it’s developing instead of having to wait months or years later just to see what happened,” said David Sweat, Chief of Epidemiology for the Shelby County Health Department.

That information is on hand daily for public health officials and law enforcement.

It’s called ODMAP. The database was created by The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, a federal program that provides resources to address drug trafficking.

It’s part of Shelby County’s aggressive response to the opioid crisis.

“Everybody in Shelby County wants to work on this issue, so there is a high level of willingness to work and a high desired innovate So we heard about this tool and we said lets try it,” said Sweat.

The database breaks down OD calls into fatal or non-fatal and marks if Narcan was used. The data will be used to drive the county’s response putting help where it’s needed most.

"What it’s really done in the last couple of years is show us every single demographic including prominent areas of Memphis are being affected, said Angela Quadrani, with Addiction Campuses. “We need to change our perception of who’s being affected by this.”

County health officials are still learning how to interpret the data, but already they can see the trend of fatal drug over doses moving out of Memphis city limits and into the suburbs.

Memphis Fire will start testing the database on Friday with no firm date set yet for full implementation.

Data trends will help the health department target education outreach as well as do Narcan training in communities most impacted.

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