Orleans District Attorney’s Office proposes new tool for opioid crisis

Overdose prevention tool

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A new tool could give first responders real time surveillance of drug overdoses.

The Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office thinks the tool could help ease the opioid crisis

"Our hope is that ODMAP can address the gap in coverage that we currently have to collaborate amongst all the treatment, all the prevention providers, and law enforcement, to come together and try to address this problem collectively," Andre Gaudin Jr. with the DA's Office said.

This comes after they say deaths from overdoses exceeded homicides in New Orleans.

"If we look at the data from 2015 to 2016 to 2017 to 2018, you can see that murders despite a spike, have begun to decline. Meanwhile, the overdose deaths rocketed up from 2015 to 2016 as the opioid crisis hit New Orleans the hardest," Gaudin said.

ODMAP collects data about whether the overdose is fatal, what dosage of Narcan is used, and a general location.

"It allows for near real-time surveillance of the overdose crisis as it's happening," Gaudin said.

The map can also alert first responders to when and where overdose spikes occur.

“They can act accordingly. They have an opportunity not simply to be back as the passive recipients of this data, but to proactively move in an try to take efforts to stop the next overdose from occurring. That is how we change this game,” Gaudin said.

Councilmember Jay Banks said drug overdose has been a problem in New Orleans for a long time.

"This is not a new situation, and I by no means want anybody to lose sight or get the impression that now we're going to try to fix it because of who's affected. We should have been trying to fix it," Banks said.

He hopes the tool will be a force used not just to address opioids, but all drugs.

"It doesn't just stop with housewives, and soccer moms. Now dope fiends, we've had dope fiends out here in this community for generations," Banks said.

"I don't think New Orleans can afford not to invest in this program, and not just pilot it, but really invest in a way that it can benefit all of our communities," Councilmember-At-Large Jason Williams said.

While the system is free, funding will be needed for implementation.

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