Predictive Policing Blog

Attacking the Opioid Overdose Epidemic One Prediction at a Time

Countless people have been affected by the ever growing opioid epidemic that has ravaged our nation. The sheer numbers are staggering - the latest data from the CDC estimate over 72,000 deaths in 2017 alone, a heartbreaking new record figure. According to a recent Washington Post article, this equates to about 200 drug overdose deaths every single day, or one every eight minutes.
OD death graph
(image source: Washington Post)

More often than not, law enforcement personnel are the first on the scene of a drug overdose. This means that the scope of their job is evolving, going far beyond just fighting crime. Law enforcement officers now find themselves doing the job of a social worker, mental health counselor and medical professional when responding to drug overdoses. Many are now carrying Narcan with them to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, since being able to administer the drug right away can mean difference between life or death. 
As this problem continues to grow there is an increased need for additional tools and resources to help combat it. As a result, PredPol has decided to partner with one of the largest sheriff departments in the country to try to get out ahead of this crisis and save lives. Using historical data, our machine learning algorithm has identified specific crime patterns that signal a higher risk of overdoses for a specific area. This data can be shared with partner entities such as fire/EMS, faith-based organizations, community groups, and social services. The goal is to leverage these partners to take a proactive rather than reactive approach to this multifaceted problem.
Direct engagement with at-risk communities has proven to reduce the number of overdoses as well as crimes associated with illegal drug use, such as burglaries, robberies, vehicle crimes, and petty theft. PredPol's goal is to help identify the areas that are at the highest risk on a daily, shift-by-shift basis, so you can focus on keeping the community safe and saving lives. 
If you would like to learn more about this overdose prediction tool or any other PredPol feature, please schedule a demo.