Smartphone app to combat opioid crisis
Law enforcement officers and first responders will use it to see where overdoses are occurring
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control has hired 10 new agents who are being deployed throughout the state to investigate opioid diversions, Director John Scully announced Friday.
The agency also is rolling out a new smartphone app called ODMAP that will allow law enforcement agents and first responders to track both fatal and nonfatal drug overdoses in real time, he said.
Attorney General Mike Hunter praised both initiatives.
“We're going to investigate pill mills and shut them down,” Hunter said. “The real-time data that ODMAPing provides allows for an immediate response targeting hot-spot areas and shutting down criminal drug dealers.”
At a news conference, Hunter and Scully talked about the devastating impact opioid abuse has had on Oklahoma families, with Hunter calling it a “modern-day plague” that has “created a generation of addicts and a swath of destruction.”
Scully said state efforts to combat opioid and other drug abuse are having an impact but that more needs to be done.
He pointed to charts that show national drug overdose deaths have been rising every year, going from 43,982 in 2013 to 72,306 in 2017. Meanwhile, state overdose deaths dropped to 796 in 2017 after increasing steadily from 779 in 2013 to 899 in 2016.
Nationally, prescription opioid deaths have increased every year, going from 14,145 in 2013 to 17,087 in 2016, while Oklahoma opioid deaths have been on the decline, going from 509 in 2013 to 316 in 2017.
Rollout of the ODMAP smartphone app is an effort to decrease all types of fatal and nonfatal drug overdoses even further, officials said.
The app currently is in use by eight Oklahoma agencies in Custer, Garvin and LeFlore counties, and the goal is to have the technology available throughout the state by next summer, officials said.
The app is free to law enforcement officers and first responders but not available to
less with race and more with economic disparity.
In order to rid the department of the perception that officers write traffic citations to collect revenue for the city, Carter instructed officers to write fewer tickets and instead — when appropriate — give written and verbal warnings.
Other items in the plan designed to reduce disproportionate punishment for the city's low-income population include a 72-hour limit on jail time for those who can't afford to make bail for municipal offenses.
Other mandates include antibias training, an agreement with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to investigate fatal uses of force in the city and a program called “Food for Fines,” where those with outstanding warrants can exchange canned foods for credit toward their fines.
Sand Springs police submitted their application months before the deadline and “kind of forgot” about it until they were told they were to receive the award, Carter said. The intention was less to win and more to share with law enforcement communities what Carter says works for them.
“It's really to allow the public and us to work in partnership to see where we want to go and what's important to the community,” Carter said.
The evolving document is meant to “match (the community's) expectations of us,” he said. Carter said in its next revision, the policing plan will include security and safety protocols specifically for the city's schools.