The National Safety Council continues to roll out new ways to demonstrate the impact of the opioid crisis on families across the United States in its journey to end preventable deaths.
In addition to its memorial wall containing 22,000 pills to visually show how many lives are lost through addiction each year, the NSC now has adopted an interactive map to further its efforts.
“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,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, NSC president and CEO.
The Celebrating Lost Loved Ones map began as a crowdsourced effort developed by Jeremiah Lindemann, a solution engineer for Esri and a New America Fellow, 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.
"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 the National Safety Council is using the power of Story Maps to communicate the problem and break the stigma associated with the opioid epidemic."
The NSC’s Survivor Advocate Network recognized the impact that the location intelligence and visualization features available in the map could have to raise awareness, while also connecting others dealing with opioid tragedy.
The map enables 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, allowing grieving friends and family members to honor their loved ones, share their stories with others and find a supportive community in return.
The project’s goal is to raise awareness of the broad impact of the opioid crisis and advance the NSC's mission of ending opioid deaths, according to the organization.