Pandemic creates national overdose crisis making prevention awareness all the more important

Overdose cases have been on the rise over the pandemic, so here’s what you need to know about overdose prevention

Caitlin-Grace Daniels, Correspondent

With opioid overdose cases reportedly on the rise nationwide in the past year, police departments are actively coming up with prevention tactics to keep people safe and informed. 

COVID-19 stay-at-home precautions and mandates were implemented last March, contributing to a rise in overdose cases across the country.

“In the time following March 19, 2020, 61.84 percent of participating counties experienced an increase in overdose submissions,” reports ODMAP Analyst, Christopher Yeager. 

Officers encourage citizens to utilize the application, “OD Map,” an overdose detection mapping application program used to combat the opioid epidemic. Once downloaded, users can type in an address and the police will be aware of drug hotspots or the location of an overdose. 

OD Map is available in a number of participating counties in Georgia, including Bulloch and Chatham counties, and ultimately saves first responders time and effort, both of which are of essence when saving lives. 

Narcan is a medication used to block the effects of opioids like heroin, morphine, and oxycodone. This opioid antagonist medication is typically administered by first responders, such as police officers, who are usually first to arrive on the scene of an overdose case. 

Chatham County police have administered a total of 46 doses of narcan since last February, said Chatham County Public Information Officer, Betsy Nolan.

“Each officer is issued Narcan and authorized to use it anytime they see the need,” says Captain Jared Akins of Statesboro Police Department. 

Akins pinpoints measures that the public should utilize if they come in contact with someone who has overdosed: 

  1. “Make the 911 call. That way, resources can be dispatched as quickly as possible.”
  2. “Recognize that some substances, like fentanyl, can be dangerous to touch or inhale, so be mindful of what you come into contact with at the scene.”
  3. “Remain at the scene until first responders arrive so that you can provide them necessary information about the victim and your own observations.”