Minnehaha County now using ODMAP app to track overdoses

Published: May. 14, 2018 at 9:46 PM CDT
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Minnehaha County is now using an app called "ODMAP" to track overdoses across the county in real time.

As opioid overdoses and meth use continue to rise across the state, other cities across the country are seeing even worse epidemics of heroin and fentanyl. But Monday, the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office, along with Sioux Falls Police, now have access to an application which will allow law enforcement to track overdoses across the county in real time.

The app has been in use by HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas) in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. since early 2017, shortly after it was created.

"It came about as a result of a meeting I was having in Baltimore city," said Thomas Carr, HIDTA Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Executive Director. "One of them mentioned that there was a real need to track spikes in overdose usage and one of the doctors quipped, 'There should be an app for that.'"

Carr said that meeting was on a Friday. The following Monday he went in to his team and asked if an app was possible. They said yes and he told them they had 30 days to make it happen. They created it in less. They started testing it right away.

Now more than 650 agencies in more than 30 states use the app.

"'ODMAP' was designed to alert public health officials, as well as police, as to where unusual spikes in overdoses were taking place and it tracks it in real time," said Carr.

It takes less than a minute for police to enter the overdose. Fire Rescue and EMS will also have access to the app to enter information.

"It'll either use my current location or I can enter the address, case information, age, gender and that's it," Sheriff Mike Milstead of the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office said. "The only required entry -- a fatal overdose or a non-fatal overdose."

No other identifying information is needed and Carr said they're not tracking it or saving it. However, it does provide data to sheriffs, chiefs and other commanding officers.

"Zoom in on any of those locations and it will show every overdose that was reported within the given time that you want to include," Milstead said. "It will say how many were fatal and how many were non-fatal and was Naloxone administered? It has the ability to track the days, the track the time, time each day."

'ODMAP' also allows those with "level two" access -- those sheriffs, chiefs and commanding officers -- to see reported overdoses across the country from other agencies who are using the app.

Milstead said it gives law enforcement the opportunity to better understand the trends happening in cities that mirror Sioux Falls' drug activity and gives them a chance to prepare.

"It gives us a better ability to target drugs and also to warn the public," Milstead said. "In particular if we start to see more and more of a particular drug where people are overdosing, it helps us get the message out."

'ODMAP' is not indicative of all overdoses happening across the country ... at least not yet. It only has information from agencies who are registered and reporting.

Milstead said he hopes the app will soon be used statewide. In the meantime, the Sioux Falls Dept. of Health is working to coordinate with other entities, such as the hospitals in town, to get them to also aid in compiling overdose information.

Public Health Director Jill Franken said the city has been working with law enforcement and behavioral health resources for several years now to try to determine what needs there are in helping the city address addiction issues and have data to use.