The Aiken Center is partnering with local law enforcement agencies to help combat drug misuse issues in Aiken County, S.C., primarily by using new mapping technology to identify overdose hot spots.
The Aiken Center is partnering with local law enforcement agencies to combat drug misuse in Aiken County by using new mapping technology to identify overdose hotspots.
As of Nov. 12, South Carolina has had 8,357 fatal and nonfatal suspected overdoses so far this calendar year, with Aiken County accounting for 358 of the total overdoses, according to the Aiken Center.
However, Aiken County is utilizing a new, innovative platform to help analyze and address the issue.
The Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) is a program designed to help address the nationwide drug crisis.
In 2019, the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office was given a demonstration of the mapping application and released an opinion in March 2019 in support of ODMAP, according to documents obtained from the Office of the Governor. The South Carolina Governor’s Office also stated the application does not violate HIPPA regulations.
Launched by the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area in 2017, the program serves as a collaborative, centralized platform for agencies to track and respond to drug crises.
“By combining the data in ODMAP with collaborative partnerships which span different agencies, localities can develop and deploy a real-time plan to reduce both fatal and non-fatal overdoses,” according to the ODMAP website. “In a proactive effort of public health and safety preparedness, agencies can establish spike alerts for nearby jurisdictions which can serve as an early warning feature for when a spike may be entering their communities.”
The Aiken Center said there was a recent spike in Charleston that was identified through ODMAP, and agencies like the Aiken Center were able to take action.
“They realized there was a cluster of overdoses happening around a hotel in a certain neighborhood,” said Margaret Key, executive director of the Aiken Center. “It could have been that fentanyl was laced in some pills that people were experimenting with, or in Heroin