Cincinnati has developed a 'Heroin Tracker' to fight overdose epidemic sweeping the city

Online tool allows police and medical services to identify problem areas and outbreaks.

A heroin epidemic continues in the US city of Cincinnati so an online tool called Heroin Tracker to help combat outbreaks has been developed.iStock

Cincinnati has developed a unique online tool called a 'Heroin Tracker' that allows authorities and emergency services to log and view overdose incidents in a bid to fight the spiralling use of the drug.

The Heroin Tracker portal, which anyone can view, shows an interactive heat map across the city of all overdoses recorded by emergency medical services. This includes daily updated data such as what area and time of day they occurred.

The idea behind the tool is to allow city officials in Ohio to identify hotspots of where the overdoses are taking place and track growing trends - such as an outbreak in a particular neighbourhood - in order to strategically deploy police or medical resources to contain and curb the problem.

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Following a spike in overdoses in the summer of 2016 caused by the drug Carfentanil entering the city, Cincinnati's Office of Performance and Data Analytics decided to make a one-of-a-kind visual indicator of all the medical services data.

"It's a matter of making sure that this data are in the right hands at the right times, so that we can sort of react and respond in a way that's really proactive and helpful," Cincinnati Chief Performance Officer Leigh Tami told local news outlet WCPO.

The Heroin Tracker can be updated by the hour, with a section on the portal showing a breakdown of what time of day is most common for incidents and whether responders on the scene administered the opioid blocker Narcan or the victim needed medical treatment.

The interactive online tool allows services to see where overdoses in the city have happened.Screenshot/ Cincy Insights

"I think it's really about building a community of how we can address this epidemic," Cincinnati Chief Data Officer Brandon Crowley told WCPO. "Because it's not just Cincinnati, it's not just affecting Ohio. It's affecting the country."

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