WFAA News | Money and legal woes kept North Texas’ biggest cities from mapping overdoses, which experts say saves lives.
They look like dots on a map, but they mean so much more.
Lake Travis Fire Chief, Robert Abbott: “Every one of those dots is only moments away from being a fatality.
Here on the shores of Lake Travis, those dots are pivotal to the community’s fight against the fentanyl epidemic.
It’s called overdose mapping.
“We can see the data in real time, ensure that with our neighbors and in the public safety realm.”
Fire Chief Robert Abbott says the system’s identified two areas with high numbers of opioid overdoses.
And with that information, they’re putting Narcan doses in the right places.
“The reality is we we’ve had more problem in those areas than we thought.”
So how does overdose mapping work?
Agencies enter their overdoses into the system, noting where did the overdose occur?
Was it fatal? Or non fatal? Was naloxone, better known as Narcan, given?
When overdoses spike, the system triggers alerts.
Emergency medical services can call in extra staff to reduce response times. Hospitals can get prepared for the influx. Treatment professionals can respond to offer help to victims.
For law enforcement, knowing where overdoses occur can lead them to the source of the drugs.
Jeff Beeson, Washington/Baltimore HIDTA: “We’ve seen these great examples of fentanyl drug seizure and then the three months that followed, we were able to cut overdoses in half.
Beeson: “Having that knowledge and that understanding in real time of what’s going on in my community or even a neighboring community, that’s gonna to improve my response protocol and get me in a better position to save lives.”
Many departments in the Austin and Houston area have signed on. So has Plano. It’s by far the main local contributor.
Plano Police Department, Jennifer Chapman: “It’s an epidemic at this point, and we are very concerned.”