Baltimore rolls out text alert system to warn drug users of opioid overdose clusters

To address the recent surge in fentanyl-related overdose deaths, Baltimore health officials launched a "Bad Batch Alert" text-messaging system to notify drug users when an uptick of overdoses possibly linked to bad batches of drugs are reported in certain parts of the city, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The app is designed by a local nonprofit, Code in the Schools, and allows drug users to sign up for alerts based on data reported by paramedics and analyzed by the Baltimore Health Department.

"People are using fentanyl without realizing it," Leana Wen, MD, Baltimore's health commissioner, told the Sun. "Fentanyl is getting mixed in with heroin, cocaine, prescription drugs. They're overdosing and dying without realizing what they're taking … The more information we can get out to the most people as fast as we can, the better."

Of the nearly 700 people who died of a drug overdose in Baltimore last year, 419 were related to fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Dr. Wen told The Baltimore Sun fentanyl-related overdoses in the city have experienced a 35-fold increase in the last three years.

To read the full report from The Baltimore Sun, click here.

More articles on opioids: 
Study: Opioid overdoses nearly double in 7 years 
HHS recruiting federal officials for pain management task force 
Ohio mayors call on Gov. Kasich to take more action on opioid epidemic

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