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National Safety Council Adopts Interactive Map That Memorializes Those Lost to Opioid Overdose

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ITASCA, Ill., Feb. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The National Safety Council is adopting the Celebrating Lost Loved Ones map, which allows family and friends of those lost to the opioid epidemic to place an image and description of their late loved one on an interactive map. The project helps raise awareness of the broad impact of the opioid crisis and advances the Council’s mission of ending opioid deaths.

Unintentional, preventable injuries – commonly known as “accidents” – claimed a record high 161,374 lives in 2016 to become the third leading cause of death in the United States for the first time in recorded history, according to Council data analysis. The unprecedented spike has been fueled by the opioid crisis. Unintentional opioid overdose deaths totaled 37,814 in 2016.

“One in four people in the U.S. has been directly affected by the opioid epidemic,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “The Celebrating Lost Loved Ones map can help reduce the stigma around opioid-related deaths by allowing us to get to know those in our community who were loved and are so deeply missed.”

Jeremiah Lindemann, a solution engineer for Esri and a New America Fellow, created the Celebrating Lost Loved Ones map in late 2016 following the death of his younger brother. Since its launch, the map has gathered more than 1,300 memorials from people in states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Florida, California, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota and Virginia.

The map has been a crowdsourced effort, allowing grieving friends and family members to honor their loved ones, share their stories with others and find a supportive community in return. 

“We are honored to be part of the National Safety Council effort,” Lindemann said. “Esri has been working with several local governments using mapping and analytics to uncover crucial data around a public health issue that was for years largely hidden. We are happy to the National Safety Council is using the power of Story Maps to communicate the problem and break the stigma associated with the opioid epidemic.”

Esri’s spatial analytics and mapping capabilities are in daily use by city, state and local governments across the country. They are using the company’s location-based tools to better understand the impact of – and plan the best approach for – managing the opioid crisis within their own

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