Published: Sept. 20, 2022
Aerial photo of CU Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder Police Department has signed a participation agreement to share drug overdose data with the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), a national system designed to provide vital information to participating stakeholders in real time. 

Emergency medical services, emergency departments and law enforcement agencies can provide input on where potential drug overdoses have occurred, which drugs are suspected to be consumed and if overdoses are fatal or not. They can also share if naloxone was administered during the overdose. Naloxone is a medication that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose and can save lives. CU police and residential service officers carry naloxone and are trained to administer it.

The specific data collected in ODMAP includes date/time of suspected overdose, approximate overdose location, whether the overdose was fatal or nonfatal, and whether naloxone was administered, if applicable.

ODMAP does not collect personally identifiable information or personal health information. The goal of ODMAP is to provide near real-time data to public safety and public health agencies exclusively, enabling them to mobilize responses to overdoses as quickly and practically as possible. The map is not designed to aid in potential criminal prosecution. 

CUPD, which will be participating in the project with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Boulder police, the Boulder County coroner, the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office, Lafayette police, Erie police, Louisville police, Longmont Department of Public Safety and Boulder County Public Health, will be able to use ODMAP data to determine if potential overdose activity is related or spiking, in which case a spike alert could be issued to notify first responders of increased incidents in specific geographic locations. 

ODMAP spike alerts are part of an internal response framework that can help EMS or law enforcement become more aware of overdose activity and target their response and prevention efforts. Spike alerts could also be used by public health officials to notify the public of the presence of, or an uptick in, dangerous substances in the community. 

“CUPD looks forward to being a proactive partner in this effort to reduce harm and best respond to drug overdoses in our community,” said Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Safety and Chief of Police Doreen Jokerst. She added that having access to more comprehensive information will help agencies better evaluate and respond to risk.

“ODMAP is another important tool that can help the community members of Boulder County and beyond,” said Commander Nico Goldberger of the Boulder County Drug Task Force. “It by no means takes the place of people making wise decisions when it comes to ingesting or injecting any type of drug, including avoidance.”

Dan Jones, CU Boulder’s associate vice chancellor for integrity, safety and compliance, said the state’s flagship university was eager to sign on to help. “Protecting our students requires looking beyond campus boundaries, and this agreement adds to our partnerships that enhance public safety both for CU and the wider community.”

CU Boulder’s participation in the ODMAP is made possible through collaboration with Blue Rising Together, which is a group dedicated to bringing awareness of high-potency tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and fentanyl poisoning in Colorado. The ODMAP is yet another way CUPD supports the university and its public health mission by providing public safety services that meet the unique needs of the community.