Drug Overdose Submissions to National Overdose Mapping System Increase 20 Percent from Same Period in 2019
May 29, 2020
Contact: Office of Government and Public Affairs
A May 2020 analysis of the possible implications of COVID-19 pandemic on the overdose epidemic has found that since the first reported case of COVID-19, suspected overdose submissions increased an average of 20 percent when compared to the same period in 2019.
The Overdose Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) is a national surveillance platform for the collection of both fatal and non-fatal suspected overdoses, and is used throughout the majority of the country. Funded by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and managed by the Center for Drug Policy and Enforcement’s Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program (W/B HIDTA), it has shown a statistically significant correlation in two of six states analyzed.
University of Baltimore Center for Drug Policy and Enforcement's Executive Director Tom Carr stated, "Our analysis shows that historical data modeling would not have forecasted the increase in overdose activity currently present in ODMAP submissions since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Suspected overdose submissions in the OMDAP system have risen 16.56 percent based off of a 30-day rolling mean comparison from 2019 to 2020. Further, the first six days of May 2020 show an eight percent increase in overdoses from last year."
Examples of reports from ODMAP stakeholders include:
- The Shelby County Health Department reported 391 suspected overdoses from April 7, 2020 to May 7, 2020, 58 of which were fatal. This is the most in a 30-day period, since tracking began on Jan. 1, 2019.
- Milwaukee County's (Wisc.) Medic al Services Division reported March and April 2020 display a 54 percent increase in drug overdose calls compared to the same time period of 2019.
Qualitative data from interviews with ODMAP stakeholders, information gathered from open sources, and peer-reviewed articles indicate that people who use drugs are likely more vulnerable during the pandemic due to stigma, discrimination, inferior health knowledge, prioritization of drug use over overall health, and may experience difficulties accessing harm reduction services.
In the Baltimore region, ODMAP results show a 10 percent increase in suspected overdoses reported by month from March through May 2020, compared to the six months before the stay-at-home order was put into effect. During that same time, ODMAP-generated overdose spike alerts have increased by 10 percent.
ODMAP Senior Program Manager Aliese Alter related, "Both ODMAP submissions and confirmed COVID-19 cases are reported in near real time, and ODMAP is the only national surveillance platform for collection of both fatal and non-fatal suspected overdoses, therefore, this analysis presents the most relevant evaluation of the possible implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the overdose epidemic. However, further analysis should be conducted in coordination with state health departments and the ODMAP system to better understand this significance."
For more information on ODMAP, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the University of Baltimore Center for Drug Policy and Enforcement: The University of Baltimore's Center for Drug Policy and Enforcement (CDPE) brings together policy experts, advocates and scholars dedicated to scientific research and best practices for stopping the proliferation of drugs and violence in our communities. The Center focuses on applied research initiatives to reduce drug trafficking, money laundering, firearms trafficking, drug-related violence, and gang activity, and pursues strategies to advance a public-health approach to resolving the core problem of addiction.
Funded entirely through external grants, the CDPE focuses its efforts on Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and West Virginia, and includes the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program.
About the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA Program: The federally-funded Washington/Baltimore HIDTA Program (W/B HIDTA) provides resources to federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to coordinate activities to address drug trafficking in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and parts of West Virginia. Its mission is to reduce drug trafficking and misuse by improving interagency collaboration, promoting accurate and timely information and intelligence sharing, and providing specialized training and other resources to its law enforcement, intelligence, treatment, and prevention initiatives. To accomplish this mission, the W/B HIDTA strategically applies its resources to initiatives designed to save lives, prevent initiation of drug use, and apprehend drug traffickers and money launderers. ONDCP designated the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA in 1994.