A new online map by the Broward County Office of Medical Examiner tracks overdose deaths throughout the county. Currently, the map shows overdoses in 2016 but officials hope it can be used to help prevent deaths in 2017 and beyond.
In 2016, 11 overdose deaths occurred in Wilton Manors. Chief Paul O’Connell said that most of the overdoses were caused by fentanyl, heroin or other opioids
According to the CDC, opioids killed more than 33,000 people nationwide in 2015. It was the deadliest year on record for opioid addiction. “Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid,” reads the CDC website.
“It’s a whole new world. We know we have a substance abuse problem. That’s why we have a detective assigned to the Metro Broward Drug Task Force,” said O’Connell.
The purpose of the Task Force, which includes detectives from local Broward cities as well as the FBI, DEA, and Department of Homeland Security, is to disrupt and dismantle middle to upper level drug trafficking organizations. “We use that as our guide,” said O’Connell. He [our undercover detective] is our boots on the ground.”
Commissioner Julie Carson wants to give another tool to those boots on the ground.
At the April 25 commission meeting, Carson asked O’Connell to look into equipping his officers with Narcan. Narcan is an anti-opiate nasal spray which has been credited with saving the lives of countless individuals who have overdosed on heroin and other opioids.
“Narcan is a drug that can be administered immediately. If we can save one life, that’s worth it,” said Carson. O’Connell said he would consult the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department, which already uses Narcan, on how to proceed. “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel. We’ll go to the experts,” he said.
To help prevent overdoses before Narcan is needed, the police department has organized a prescription drug take back on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day – Saturday, April 29. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at City Hall, 2020 Wilton Drive.
The goal is to get people to dispose of their unused and expired prescription medicine and prevent it from possibly being abused by a family member or someone else who lives in the household.
The map can be viewed at http://bcgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=0471c198475844cb9e27002ab140c47c