Frederick Ryan, Chief of Police
112 Mystic St.
Arlington, MA 02474
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Media Contact: Captain Richard Flynn, PIO
Email: [email protected]
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Arlington Police Launch App Targeted at Reducing Opioid Deaths
ARLINGTON — Chief Frederick Ryan announces that the Arlington Police Department has begun using an application to help first responders and public health clinicians pinpoint locations and trends for drug overdoses in real time.
The Overdose Detection Mapping Application was developed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program. Every time police officers, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel respond to drug overdoses, they enter data collected into the app’s online system, which is then made available to other law enforcement and public health officials.
Arlington Police have been using the app since June 26 and are able to pinpoint the location of an overdose, see how many doses of Narcan were administered and determine if it ended in a recovery or fatality. First responders can also make notes of the type of drug used, such as heroin and much more potent drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil, which are not only causing a sharp increase in fatalities, but also present a serious danger to first responders coming into contact with the deadly substances.
The app is part of the Arlington Police Department’s suite of tools and services it has employed over the past two years as a national leader in law enforcement’s response to the opioid epidemic. The mapping program is overseen by Captain Julie Flaherty.
“A modern crisis requires a modern approach and the latest technology,” Captain Flaherty said. “By arming ourselves with information, we can better decide how to allocate our resources under the Arlington Outreach Initiative.”
Confidential patient information is not entered into the app and the data is not available to members of the public.
By monitoring information displayed through the app, officials can determine if there is an increase in overdoses reported in a specific area of town, or in neighboring communities. Officials can then prepare for emergencies, such as a spike in overdose or a rise in fentanyl or other drugs, and issue alerts to other first responders and members of the public.
“Tools such as the Overdose Detection Mapping app enable first responders to use the latest technology and analytics to save lives,” Chief Ryan said. “We must employ a multifaceted approach as we combat the most deadly drug epidemic we have ever seen in law enforcement, and this app allows us to get ahead of a sudden spike in overdoses before many lives are lost.”
The app was first used in the Washington D.C./Baltimore metropolitan region and has since spread across the country.
Chief Ryan gave a presentation about the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program at the Middlesex County Chiefs of Police Association meeting last month with a representative from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program to inform his colleagues about the benefits of the app. It is anticipated that many other agencies will soon employ the app as part of their response to overdose incidents.