HARRISBURG- In the near future, Senator Doug Mastriano will be introducing legislation to ensure that drug overdose incidents are reported into a mapping system within 24 hours of encounter by first responders.

The opioid crisis continues to have a stranglehold in communities across our Commonwealth. COVID-19 lockdowns and the fallout that ensued have exacerbated the crisis. In 2020, overdose deaths increased by 14% compared to 2019 and 5,000 lives were tragically lost.

Of those 5,000 deaths, it is estimated that close to 4,000 involved fentanyl or fentanyl- related substances. As transnational criminal organizations continue to get better at producing and smuggling illicit fentanyl into the United States, we can expect Pennsylvania’s overdose rate epidemic to remain high.

In 2017, a mapping tool called “ODMAP” was introduced by the U.S Office of the National Drug Control Policy’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. The map provides near real-time overdose data across jurisdictions to support public safety and public health efforts to mobilize an immediate response to a sudden spike in overdose events.  

ODMAP is accessible by mobile device, free to use for participating agencies, requires minimal training, and allows users to input overdose data in less than a minute. Information about overdose incidents remains confidential at all times pursuant to applicable laws and regulations pertaining to the protection of health information.

ODMAP has users from all 50 states. 12 of those states have recently opted for statewide implementation. Success stories from these states include law enforcement utilizing data to surge resources to areas where batches of fentanyl are causing a high percentage of overdoses and peer recovery specialists deployed to “spike” areas to discuss treatment options for overdose victims.

While some agencies in Pennsylvania currently utilize ODMAP, entries are voluntary and nowhere near indicative of the true state of the overdose epidemic. Our state does not have a uniform statewide reporting system.

My legislation will require first responders (law enforcement and emergency medical services) to report all overdose incidents into ODMAP within 24 hours of encounter. To avoid any duplication of effort or data points, ODMAP does have the ability to automatically populate reports from other reporting systems currently used by first responders. 

Statewide adaptation of ODMAP will allow county and local officials to develop an overdose spike response plan to develop parameters to identify an overdose spike and coordinate the response of public health, emergency management, first responders, community organizations, and health care providers with the goal of preventing and reducing the harm caused by overdose spikes.