As one Florida county introduces a new overdose mapping tool to the state, local officials continue to track overdoses in Manatee County.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is using a mapping tool, the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), which was developed by the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. Collier County will use it to specifically and solely track heroin overdoses, according to a news release. It’s been live for the agency since April 14.
The map, officials said, will show hot spots for overdoses. Deputies have already mapped 40 suspected heroin overdoses, including four that were fatal.
“More importantly, it will alert law enforcement and public safety officials to overdose spikes caused by a bad batch of drugs, or a new and growing supply of drugs entering our community,” Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said in the release.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is one of 90 agencies in the nation and the only one in Florida currently using the program, Jeff Beeson, deputy director of the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA, which operates the program, said in the announcement.
Collier EMS will also begin mapping overdoses in October, said EMS Chief Tabatha Butcher.
When Collier County officials respond to an overdose, they enter information into a database through a computer or a mobile device, which immediately pops up on an electronic map, according to the release. Color-coded dots indicate a general location of the overdose, whether it was fatal and whether Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal drug, was administered.
Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dave Bristow said the sheriff’s office has used a similar program.
“We’re certainly tracking it and doing questionnaires,” Bristow said. “We can take what we need from what we have, it just may not be real-time.”
The latest statistics from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office show so far this year, the sheriff’s office has responded to 862 overdoses, 74 of which have been fatal.
From Aug. 1 to Aug. 17, deputies responded to 27 overdoses, none of which were fatal, a huge drop from the same time period in 2016, when deputies responded to 267 overdoses, 25 of which were fatal.
July also saw a dramatic decrease from last year. There were 104 overdoses in July, 11 of which were fatal. In July 2016, there were 327 overdoses, 24 of which were fatal.
The decrease in overdoses is promising, Bristow said.
“They look good compared to what we’ve had,” Bristow said. “It’s encouraging because, you know, at some point we were going to start seeing this thing go downward. Now, apparently, it’s starting to, it is just, will it continue?”
“I think it’s enough to say it’s a trend.”
In Manatee County, a crime map is available on the sheriff’s office website. It displays, among other crimes, drug and alcohol violations over the past week, but does not specify if the violation could have been an overdose.
“We know exactly where overdoses are occurring but there’s no huge advantages to that,” Bristow said. “We’ve known for a while now where overdoses come from as far as ZIP codes and our own zones.”