Tarrant County approves effort to map out overdoses, joining Dallas in tracking impact of opioids

tarrant county approves effort to map out overdoses, joining dallas in tracking impact of opioids

Tarrant County is moving forward with new technology that will map out overdose cases.

The OD Map project is a nationwide effort to understand where addiction is hitting communities hardest.

Dallas has been using the software since last June, and first responders say it’s helping the city target its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

Ofie Moreno lives with her family in Fort Worth. In February 2022, her 24-year-old son Sebastian died from exposure to fentanyl.

“I lost my son, my son was poisoned from this,” Moreno said. “And it’s something that no family should ever have to go through.”

She started an organization, Bash’en Fentanyl, to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic in her son’s name.

A new tool approved for use in Tarrant County will look to help with that fight.

This month, the Tarrant County Board of Commissioners approved a plan to join the OD Map project, a national coalition that gives first responders software to map out where overdoses are happening.

“I think this is very useful to us, it helps us to learn more where we need to get stronger, in what areas,” Moreno said.

Dallas Fire-Rescue started using OD Map one year ago this month.

First responders said since the start of 2024, they’ve mapped out more than 600 overdose sites across the city.

“So that is clearly a community problem,” said Scott Clumpner, Deputy Chief of Dallas Fire Rescue. “And it’s our job to try and help and make sure that we can get these people into programs that can help get them off of opioids.”

The map is helping the city fight addiction on two fronts.

After paramedics respond to overdoses, DFR said it uses the data to bring mental health resources to the victims.

The Dallas Police Department has been using the map to identify which neighborhoods are seeing the most overdoses, helping them target their efforts to track down drug suppliers.

“It is definitely a tool that has brought everybody together to work to solve this problem,” Clumpner said.

First responders told NBC 5 that after years of rising impact, recent numbers have shown the opioid epidemic appearing to level off in Dallas.

Some Tarrant County residents hoped new tools like this would help fight off fentanyl’s impact in their neighborhoods.

“I know this is affecting everybody in every location, but it will show us numbers of where we need to do more billboards, do more awareness, bring more to our community,” said Moreno.

NBC 5 reached out to the Tarrant County health department to ask if we could speak with them about their plans for the od mapping software. A department spokesperson said they weren’t ready to discuss the tool yet.

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